FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Hurricane Florence nears, seven emergency shelters are now open in Cumberland County.
As of 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday, 96 people had signed into these shelters.
This year, the shelters are opening before the storm to give residents a chance to evacuate.
"I believe the idea this time is for people to prepare early. The shelters are available early. So that people can come in get settled before the storm hits so that no one is out on the roads impairing law enforcement and emergency vehicles or anything else when the storm is going," said Shelter Director Susie Guill.
The shelters at Pine Forest High School and South View High School will have pet accommodations.
Pet owners should bring pet food, medication, crates, collars, leashes and rabies vaccination records. Animal Control staff will be on-site, but owners will be expected to provide daily care for their animals during their stay at the shelter.
Residents going to shelters should bring blankets, pillows, toiletries, any medications and several changes of clothes.
If you bring snacks, they should be non-perishable items and items that do not require refrigeration or heating.
In addition, make sure to bring formula, baby food, and diapers for infants.
Caregivers should also accompany any residents who have special needs.
If residents need to evacuate and do not have transportation to the shelter or need other assistance, they may call 910-678-7657.