Dispose of storm debris responsibly

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the limited geographic impacts from Hurricane Isaias, Pender County is not conducting curbside collection of storm-related debris. Damage assessment has been completed and determined that areas of eastern Pender County sustained the most concentrated damage related to vegetative debris. Despite this damage, the decision to incur the cost related to conducting a countywide debris collection must be based on impact experienced throughout the 900 square miles that exists in Pender County.

“Generally, in the past, this has been a North Carolina Department of Transportation function,” said George Brown, Pender County Board of County Commissioners Chairman. “Pender County has, in the past, participated in county-wide debris collection programs with NCDOT after significant storms such as Hurricane Mathew or Florence which caused devastation throughout the county.”

Ultimately the decision to pick up debris countywide must be evaluated from a financial capacity standpoint. The debris operation conducted by Pender County following Hurricane Florence cost $16,674,666. The majority of this expense has not been reimbursed by FEMA nearly two years after the storm. Put in simplistic terms, the unbudgeted expenses incurred related to debris collection following Florence was roughly equivalent to 25 percent of the total general fund budget for fiscal year 2020 and more than the entire Public Safety and Department of Social Services budget combined.

Brown said Pender County’s decision to not collect curbside debris is similar to decisions by most other counties in the Southeastern North Carolina region.

“We urge residents to dispose of leaves, branches, pine straw responsibly,” said Brown.

A state and locally permitted company, Branch and Brush Debris Depot, located at 21435 US Hwy 17, in Hampstead will accept vegetative debris. For more information regarding cost and operating hours, call Branch and Brush Debris Depot at 910-581-1719.

There is no burning ban in Pender County. The Forestry Service authorizes burning permits and guidelines. The information is available online at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/burn_permits/burn_permits_main.htm. Property owners are encouraged to check with their homeowners and property associations for restrictions of burning debris.

Pender County offices closed; planning board meeting postponed

BURGAW – Due to extensive, countywide power outages, Pender County offices will remain closed all day on Tuesday.

“We hope to restore normal operations on Wednesday,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County Manager.

Due to the impacts of Hurricane Isaias, the regularly scheduled meeting of the Pender County Planning Board, scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hampstead Annex, has been postponed.

Information regarding the rescheduled meeting date will be available in the coming days.

For more information, please call the Pender County Planning and Community Development Department at 910-259-1202.

Recovery safety: Use caution

PENDER COUNTY – With cleanup from Tropical Storm Isaias underway, Pender County EMS and Fire and the Pender County Office of Emergency Management urge residents to use caution.

“This is the time when we receive the most emergency calls,” said Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “We respond to chainsaw accidents, carbon monoxide poisonings from generators, and anaphylactic shock from bee stings and fire ants.”

“Wear protective clothing when working with a chainsaw,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Wear goggles or safety glasses, hard toe shoes and leather gloves.”

Sullivan said never place a running generator inside a home or garage.

“This results in carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Sullivan. “Always read the manual before operating a chainsaw or a generator.”

Fire ants are a hazard after flooding. The ants form a mound to protect the queen. The ant mounds float on the water. Fire ants bite, causing a fierce reaction or apoplectic shock. Bees too are stirred by storms and flooding.

“Fire ants and bee stings can send people into anaphylactic shock,” said Smith.

“Be mindful of the equipment used in clean-up,” said Smith. “And be mindful of insects. Wear insect repellant with DEET.”

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Tropical Storm Isaias debris options

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the anticipated limited impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, Pender County is not planning on conducting curbside collection of storm-related debris.

“Residents have several options for collection of branches, tree limbs, and vegetative debris from Tropical Storm Isaias,” said Chad McEwen, Pender County manager.

There is no burning ban in Pender County. The Forestry Service authorizes burning permits and guidelines. The information is available online at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/burn_permits_main.htm.

Property owners are encouraged to check with their homeowners and property associations for restrictions of burning debris.

Fire officials recommend that anyone burning have resources immediately available to control their fire. Those resources include water hoses, buckets of water, and hand tools. Should a fire become out of control, individuals need to contact the local fire department for assistance immediately by dialing 911.

There is one state and locally permitted vegetative debris company, Branch and Brush Debris Depot, located at 21435 US Hwy 17, in Hampstead. Their phone number is 910-581-1719.

Pender County declares State of Emergency

PENDER COUNTY – With Hurricane Isaias approaching the East Coast, Pender County authorities declared a state of emergency effective Monday, Aug. 3, at noon.

“We are tracking Hurricane Isaias,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is fully activated 24/7.”

Due to COVID-19, the EOC staff is dispersed and staged to respond to any emergencies resulting from Hurricane Isaias.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Isaias SOE - SIGNED

 

Use generators wisely, safely

PENDER COUNTY – Many Pender County residents are preparing generators for use during Hurricane Isaias. Pender County Emergency Management and Pender County EMS and Fire urge residents to use generators with caution.

“The major hazards when using a generator is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Electrocution and fire are safety hazards too.”

“Don’t operate a generator indoors or inside a garage,” said Woody Sullivan, Pender County EMS and Fire Chief. ‘When operating a portable generator, keep it in an open, outside area.”

“Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel,” Sullivan said.

If a generator is installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and cause injury or death to your family, neighbors and utility crews working in the area, Sullivan explained.

To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.

Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator.

Following Hurricane Isaias, Pender County could be left without electric. Residents using generators should use caution.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

 

Pender County Emergency Management reminds residents that it’s not too late to prepare

PENDER COUNTY – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management (EOC) urges residents to use this weekend to prepare.

“While we monitor the path of Hurricane Isaias, we want to take this opportunity to remind our residents to prepare for wind and rain,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “This is the time to prepare. If you don’t have a hurricane emergency kit, this is the time to assemble one. Have batteries, plenty of drinking water, medications, cash, and propane in stock. Prepare for fallen trees and power outages.”

The EOC, while not fully activated, has staged equipment and personnel for a hurricane.

Now is the time for residents to prepare using a checklist of supplies available online at www.readync.org. The app is free for downloading. Pender County residents should also sign up for CodeRed, a free alert system in Pender County.

“When preparing, keep in mind the items you need to maintain your health and safety,” said Smith. “With hurricane season and the COVID-19 pandemic, residents need to remember to use face coverings and hand sanitizer.”

Have the basic things in your emergency supplies kit:

  • Extra eyeglasses, hearing aids if you have them or have coverage for them.
  • Battery chargers and extra batteries for hearing aids, motorized wheelchairs or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices.
  • Copies of medical prescriptions, doctors’ orders and the style and serial numbers of the support devices you use.
  • Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs, if you cannot tell someone about your needs in an emergency.
  • Supplies for your service animal.
  • Medical insurance cards, Medicare/Medicaid cards, physician contact information, list of your allergies and health history.
  • List of the local non-profit or community-based groups that know you or help people with access and functional needs like yours.
  • List of personal contacts, family and friends that you may need to get in touch within an emergency.
  • Covered personal communication board, if you might need assistance with being understood.
  • If possible, extra medicine, oxygen, insulin, catheters or other medical supplies you use on a normal basis.
  • If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available for emergencies. Know the size, weight and if it is collapsible, in case it must be moved to another place.
  • Even if you do not use a computer yourself, think about putting important facts onto a flash drive for you to take with you if you need to leave your house.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website http://www.penderem.com. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Pender County Emergency Management is monitoring Hurricane Isaias

PENDER COUNTY – Pender County Emergency Management is monitoring Hurricane Isaias as it moves in the Atlantic Ocean.

“This is the time for all residents who have not signed up for CodeRed to do so,” Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager said.

CodeRed is a free emergency alert system which is specific to Pender County street addresses and neighborhoods. Users may sign up for CodeRed in English or Spanish.  Go to the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page or website and click on the CodeRed logo to sign up today or go to https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/9FB534DFBC93.

“It is important, in a time of emergency to receive reliable information. CodeRed alerts are directed to your telephone or email,” said Smith. “We encourage all residents to visit the Pender County Emergency Management website, https://www.pendercountync.gov/em/, or the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page for helpful information.”

Gov. Cooper declares a State of Emergency as North Carolina prepares for Hurricane Isaias

Plans include considerations to keep people protected from COVID-19

RALEIGH: North Carolina is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias with plans including safeguards for COVID-19. Governor Roy Cooper and State Emergency Management leaders updated the public today, urging them to track the storm and prepare for wind and rain.

In preparation for the storm, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency to issue transportation waivers to allow trucks and supplies to move to where help is needed. The state Emergency Operations Center – already activated for COVID-19 – has activated for the storm as well, and state and local response teams are at the ready.

“Although the track and arrival of the hurricane could still change, now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare,” said Governor Cooper. “Hurricane preparations will be different given the COVID-19 pandemic, and families need to keep that in mind as they get ready.”

The current forecast is for Hurricane Isaias to increase in intensity over the next 24 hours. The storm shifted west Friday afternoon, and its speed and path indicate it could reach North Carolina as early as Monday, making its greatest impact Monday night and Tuesday. However, the state is already seeing signs of the storm with high risk of dangerous rip currents along the coast, and the danger of tropical storm force winds is increasing.

North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), NC National Guard (NCNG), and the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are coordinating on where to stage Unmanned Aircraft Systems drone teams in the field based on the storm’s track to provide post-event damage assessments.

The NCNG also has 75 guardsman and high water vehicles on standby should they be activated to respond. The NC Department of Transportation has more than 1,800 personnel, 1,550 pieces of equipment and more than 1,000 chainsaws ready to respond if needed. They have also suspended passenger ferry today, began voluntary evacuations of Ocracoke, waived tolls on evacuation routes, and are preparing facilities and mooring plans for vessels for storm conditions.

Some local governments have already issued evacuation orders. While the state is still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is urging people to make every effort to stay with family and friends, or even a hotel, as the first option. The state will coordinate shelters for those who need to evacuate and this will be an option for those who need it.

People should follow local evacuation orders should they be issued. Evacuees may find that sheltering looks different this year. Some changes may include:
• Residents and visitors seeking shelter will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. If an individual has COVID symptoms, they will be redirected to a non-congregate sheltering option where they can more easily isolate.
• Social distancing means fewer residents in shelters, and if needed, more facilities and volunteers to shelter the same amount of people as in previous seasons.
• Maximizing space requirements may mean not all shelters will offer cots. Be prepared to provide your own bedding and care items.
• Meals will be served in sealed containers and shelters will move away from serving lines or buffets to minimize the potential exposure of everyone in the shelter.

For more information storm preparation visit www.readync.org/.

North Carolina has recently introduced the Know Your Zone program in the 20 North Carolina coastal counties. For more information or to learn your zone, visit knowyourzone.nc.gov.

Read the Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for Hurricane Isaias.

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