NEWPORT, CARTERET COUNTY -

 American Red Cross volunteers are conducting operations training should they need to open an emergency shelter to the public due to weather.

"We'll actually bring the participants in and let them walk through and get hands on experience with the positions they'll be doing during a sheltering situation," said Red Cross representative Micheal Francis.

As meteorologists track the potential for storms off our coast later this week, officials are encouraging people to be prepared; not just for this week but for the entire season.

"What we do is encourage everyone now to prepare a shelter kit having food, water, clothing and medications approximately for three days," said Jen Sawyer with Carteret County Emergency Management.

Monday's training took place at Newport Middle School. Officials say that's the only pet friendly shelter in Carteret County and it can hold up to 1,000 people. Volunteers learned how to register people who may come to the shelter and determine how to meet their needs during or after a storm.

"We'll meet their needs, sheltering, feeding them  from the storm or any other situation that may arise," said Francis.

Volunteers say planning ahead is key.

"Planning during a reactionary phase of a disaster is not the time to be doing that," said volunteer Charles Boehnke.

Officials are encouraging the public their county's emergency services website to stay informed about what shelters are closest to where you and when the may be open should the need arise.