National Preparedness Month is recognized each year in September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared”, according to Travis Greer, with the Bladen County Health and Human Services Department.
Bladen County first responders, community leaders and elected officials are starting the announcements earlier this year due to the early predicted path of Hurricane Dorian and the damages sustained in Bladen County from past hurricanes.
The Emergency Management team has plans to meet with officials tomorrow morning, and there is a community meeting planned for today. There are 15 counties holding Disaster Information and Service Clinics across the southeastern part of North Carolina to provide community members with critical information to aid in recovery from past damage and prepare for future disasters.
Bladen County will have a clinic today, August 29th from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church located at 52 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Bladenboro. The clinics are organized by the Office of Governor Roy Copper, NC Offices of Recovery and Resilience, NC Emergency Management, Home Town Strong, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Environmental Quality.
Bladen County Fire and Emergency Services have already posted information for community members on their social media platforms.
Tar Heel Volunteer Fire Department stated, “It may be too early to predict the path of Hurricane Dorian, but it is the perfect time to make sure you are prepared.”
Bladenboro Fire Department reminded citizens, “IF Dorian turns into a major rain event, and you live close to any of the canals that have recently been cleaned out, please take the time to mark where these waterways are before the rain comes. In the event of flooding, the water will be moving very fast and can sweep people or pets away extremely quickly.”
Bladen County Emergency Services announced they are continuing to monitor Hurricane Dorian. They said, “Our office will be closely monitoring Hurricane Dorian in the coming days. We will send out updates on this storm in the coming days.”
Hurricane Dorian is in the Caribbean currently according to the National Weather Station in Wilmington. You may view their report on their YouTube Channel. https://youtu.be/4suQWatEIdo They predict the path will be well off the Cape Fear region, but they warn beach goers about rip currents and rough waters.
History indicates that families and communities who prepare in advance for hurricanes and other disasters are generally able to recover more quickly. Officials urged families not to wait until a possible hurricane is in the forecast and to make time now to discuss their emergency plans, review their homeowners and renters insurance policies, and update their emergency supplies.
An emergency supply kit should contain enough supplies not just to get through the storm, but for the potentially lengthy aftermath. Make sure to have enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days.
Other essential items include:
• Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
• First-aid kit
• Weather radio and batteries
• Needed prescription medicines
• Sleeping bag or blankets
• Changes of clothes
• Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
• Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records.
During storms, people should stay tuned to a trusted local news source and keep a battery-powered radio nearby for weather and evacuation information. They also need to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.
“It’s critical that people prepare themselves and their families now for emergencies,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Prepare not just for the storm itself but for the days to follow, as with the larger storms it sometimes takes a few days for essential services to be restored.”
Hooks reiterated that the most dangerous threat from hurricanes and tropical storms is flooding and storm surge. The storm doesn’t have to be classified as a tropical system to cause serious damage, he said.
Other steps to take now to before hurricane season:
• Know your evacuation routes and plan how you would get to safer ground if needed.
• Consider flood insurance, especially if you live near a body of water or in an area that has ever experienced flooding.
• Sign up for flood alerts from FIMAN, the NC Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network, to get up-to-the-minute warnings on potential flooding.
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on the ReadyNC mobile app and online at www.ReadyNC.org.