By Charlotte Smith
On Friday afternoon, the N.C. State Emergency Management held a Hurricane Isaias briefing urging North Carolinians to track the storm and prepare for wind and rain. The NC Governor declared a State of Emergency.
On Saturday morning Bladen County Emergency Management Director, Nathan Dowless released a memo for sheltering during the COVID-19. (View the memo by clicking here.) Dowless stated, “We have not yet opened shelters ahead of Hurricane Isaias but this info would be important for sheltering this year due to COVID-19.”
Steven Pfaff, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Wilmington, released key points about the hurricane forecast. In his statement, he said, “Please keep in mind that any potential peak wind information is highly sensitive to the storm’s track/intensity – thus any changes could drastically alter the potential peak winds.” (View Pfaff’s full overview by clicking here.)
The points Pfaff made are:
- The storm’s track remains close to the Southeast U.S. coast and impacts are likely for northeast S.C. and southeast NC
- Given a slower forecast track most impacts for northeast S.C. and southeast N.C. are expected Monday night into early Tuesday morning
- The potential for strong rip currents exists today through early next week as swells increase.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has two mental health resources to support North Carolinians throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
The Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) connects North Carolinians to additional mental health and resilience supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis. As part of the state’s recent hurricane recovery efforts it served over 4,400 people in the most impacted counties, and now it is being made available to everyone in North Carolina’s 100 counties during the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative is in partnership with all seven of the state’s LME/MCOs. (Eastpointe is the MCO for Bladen County and may be reached 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 1-800-513-4002.) Hope4NC is now available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to speak to a live person.
The Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002) is a new initiative in partnership with the North Carolina Psychological Foundation.
It provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings and their families throughout the state who are experiencing stress from being on the front lines of the state’s COVID-19 response. Hope4Healers is also available 24 hours per day, seven days a week for people to reach out for support; they will be contacted quickly by a licensed mental health professional for follow-up.
“These are challenging and uncertain times for everyone. We want to connect people to the mental health and resilience supports that they may need during this crisis to alleviate some of the anxiety and stressors that they are feeling,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Kody Kinsley.
Be prepared, not scared.
“Preparing for an emergency is an easy and simple way to help protect you and your loved ones when a disaster strikes,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “By having an emergency supply kit with enough non-perishable food and water to last each person three to seven days, you’ll be ready for the aftermath of a storm when you may be without power, water or other essential services.”
Essential items for your emergency kit include:
* Food/water for every member of your family for several days
* Copies of insurance cards/papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
* First-aid kit
* Weather radio and batteries
* 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
* Hand sanitizer
* Face masks
During storms, people should stay tuned into 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.
More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on the ReadyNC website at www.ReadyNC.org.