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.

July 4th safety message from Pender County’s first responders

BURGAW – With so many communities canceling firework displays, residents may be tempted to host their own July 4th celebration with store-bought fireworks. In North Carolina, fireworks that do not fly or explode are legal.

“If you plan on having fireworks only Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in North Carolina,” said Alan W. Cutler, Pender County Sheriff.

Fireworks classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, snake and glow worms, party poopers or snappers.

“Fireworks are beautiful, but they can be a recipe for serious burns and injuries,” warns Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “No one under the age of 16 years old should handle a firework unsupervised.”

Each year, fireworks are linked to a few deaths and thousands of injuries as well as causing wildfires.

“Enjoy the 4th of July weekend with family and friends and please leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Fire Marshal and Assist Emergency Management Director. “Thousands of people are injured each year and many accidental fires are started from consumer fireworks.”

“The most dangerous illegal fireworks include explosive or aerial fireworks and Roman candles,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager Director. “These are unpredictable explosives.”

Smith reminds residents that all fireworks require extreme caution, including sparklers.

Sullivan said sparklers burn at a temperature of around 2000 degrees, which can cause third-degree burns.

“Children should never handle sparklers without parent supervision,” said Sullivan. “Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and often burn the feet of children who drop a sparkler.”

Smith also reminds residents, if fireworks are exploding in a neighborhood, remember to secure your pet. Animals are often frightened by the loud noises. Pets tend to run away from the loud noises.

“Please be mindful of people and animals during this holiday weekend,” said Cutler.

Another summer concern is water safety. Pender County’s emergency responders remind us to swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present if available, and swim with others, never swim alone.

“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” said Cutler.

Pender County, as with many beach communities, has experienced rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler, Pender County Emergency Management, and Pender County EMS & Fire personnel wish you a safe and Happy 4th of July but urge caution when participating in all summer activities.

NC pauses in Safer At Home Phase 2, adds statewide requirement for face coverings.

As trends move in the wrong direction, state will not yet move into Phase 3

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks. Cooper also announced that face coverings must be worn when people are in public places as officials seek to stabilize concerning trends of increasing viral spread.

Cooper and Cohen were joined by Dennis Taylor, President of the North Carolina Nurses Association and Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health.

“North Carolina is relying on the data and the science to lift restrictions responsibly, and right now our increasing numbers show we need to hit the pause button while we work to stabilize our trends,” said Governor Cooper. “We need to all work together so we can protect our families and neighbors, restore our economy, and get people back to work and our children back to school.”

“I know North Carolinians are strong, resilient and care deeply about our communities. We pride ourselves on helping our neighbors. The best way we can do that now is by taking the simple action of wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth. If we each do our part, we can get back to the people and places we love,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary.

Growing evidence shows that cloth face coverings, when worn consistently, can decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially among people who are not yet showing symptoms of the virus. Until now, face coverings had been strongly recommended. Under today’s executive order, people must wear face coverings when in public places where physical distancing is not possible.

In addition, certain businesses must have employees and customers wear face coverings, including retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming; employees of child care centers and camps; state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet; workers and riders of transportation; and workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing and healthcare and long-term care settings.

“Wearing a face covering is an easy thing to do that can make a huge impact for all of us. A major spike in cases would be catastrophic to the system, and without your cooperation, nurses and our fellow healthcare providers will have a harder time caring for sick patients for weeks and months to come,” said Dennis Taylor, a nurse, and President of the North Carolina Nurses Association.

“As the leader of the state’s largest health system, I am pro-health and also 100 percent pro-business. In fact, the two are inextricably connected and I’m very proud of the way business leaders and health experts are working together to keep our economy strong,” said Eugene A. Woods, President and CEO of Atrium Health. “Medical science says to reduce the spread of COVID-19 masking works, and my sincere hope is that all the people of North Carolina can join forces to make wearing a mask not something we feel we have to do – but something that we want to do to keep each other, our neighbors, our children and our loved ones healthy and safe”

Based on the metrics laid out in April by Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, North Carolina is evaluating a combination of the data from the following categories that shows the indicators moving in the wrong direction, causing officials to implement today’s pause in Phase 2.

Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.

Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases starting to level, but is still increasing.

Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive remains elevated.

Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations are increasing, though we have capacity in our healthcare system.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to be able to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread. These areas include:

Laboratory Testing
• North Carolina is averaging more than 17,000 tests a day for the past week and there are more than 500 sites listed on online plus additional pop-up sites.
• North Carolina labs and labs around the country are seeing supply shortages for laboratory chemicals needed to process tests.

Tracing Capability
• There are over 1,500 full-time and part-time staff supporting contact tracing efforts at the local health department level, including the 309 Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative contact tracers. These new hires reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, and 44% are bilingual.

Personal Protective Equipment
• Our personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Businesses can download templates for signs on face coverings here. Downloadable social media graphics are also available for use.

Read Executive Order No. 147 that implements the June 24 announcement.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about today’s executive Order and mandatory face coverings.

Read NCDHHS guidance on face coverings.

View the slide presentation from the June 24 briefing.

More than $8.3 million approved for Pender County debris removal

Brings Total to more than $15 Million to County for Hurricane Florence Expenses

RALEIGH, N.C. – The State of North Carolina and FEMA have approved $8.3 million to reimburse Pender County for debris removal costs following Hurricane Florence.

Funds for this project cover the removal of hurricane-related debris throughout the county such as vegetation, damaged trees, construction materials and white goods.

The approval brings the total to more than $15 million to reimburse the county’s Hurricane Florence-related expenses.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants for state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to reimburse the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures and permanent repair work.

Public Assistance is a cost-sharing program. FEMA reimburses applicants at least 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.

FEMA’s total share for this project is more than $6.2 million and the state’s share is more than $2 million.
For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

Hurricane preparedness in a pandemic

PENDER COUNTY – The 2020 Hurricane Season is predicted to have an above-average number of storms. This is difficult news for anyone who is suffering from “COVID-19 Fatigue.”

“Pender County residents have the opportunity now to prepare for a hurricane and the pandemic,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager. “We encourage residents to prepare for Before, During, and After a Storm.”

Before the storm is the time to think about shelter and supplies.

The first step is: Make A Plan. As we continue social distancing and taking necessary safety measures, decide: Where will you go?

“In the event of evacuation, know your zone,” said Smith. “Preplan your route by selecting a destination.”

Identify the home of a family member or friend where you can stay. Or locate an affordable hotel where you can stay.

Public shelters set up by the local health department and Red Cross should be a refuge of last resort. Due to social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the state health department, local shelters will require a sparse configuration of distancing. Officials will check the body temperatures of evacuees signing into a shelter.

Secondly, build your emergency kit.

“Now is the time to stock your essentials and have an emergency kit,” Smith said.

Supplies such as non-perishable foods, water, flashlights, batteries, a transistor radio, a manual can opener, medications, pet supplies, cash, and important documents secured in a watertight bag are essentials for an emergency kit. However, during a pandemic, you must include face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes.

Every family member should have a seven-day supply of medications and toiletries, food, and water as well as a supply of hand sanitizers and face coverings. While preparing, remember to have a seven-day supply of pet supplies and pet medications, if applicable.

During a storm stay informed. Know your reliable sources of information. Don’t trust chat boards and rumors on social media. Pender County Emergency Management will post announcements on their website, Facebook page, and to local news media. Do not venture out during a storm.

After a storm flooding and down power lines may occur. Do not drive through water moving over roadways. Be aware of fire ants, bees, and use caution when operating a chainsaw. If you use a generator, do not operate it indoors.

For more information, watch our Pender County Emergency Management website or Facebook. If you have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at http://www.pendercountync.gov/em/special-disaster-information/emergency-notification-system/ or call 910-259-1210 for details.

Pender County Emergency Management is pleased to join NC Know Your Zone campaign

Twenty Coastal Counties Establish Predetermined Evacuation Zones

RALEIGH – North Carolina Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry today announced the implementation of the Know Your Zone initiative for North Carolina’s coastal communities. The state has worked with 20 coastal counties to create predetermined evacuation zones to help coastal residents stay safe from the impacts of hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazards, while allowing for simple and orderly evacuations.

“The goal of Know Your Zone is to educate coastal residents and visitors about their evacuation zones so that everyone knows the zone they live in and knows to look and listen for that zone when evacuations are ordered,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “Knowing your zone and when to evacuate can save lives.”

Development of the zones by county officials began with storm surge modeling from North Carolina’s Hurricane Evacuation Study. County officials were able to use the study maps to determine potential for inundation, and combine that with population data, as well as previous local experience with coastal evacuations to draft the evacuation zones needed for their county.

Some counties only need one zone where others have up to five zones in order to evacuate as efficiently as possible without over evacuating. Some inland counties that are not as susceptible to storm surge developed evacuation zones based on river flooding.

In the past, some evacuation orders have included descriptions based on local geography and elevations. Examples include:
• All unincorporated areas of a county
• Low lying areas in a town or county
• All areas within a certain distance of a particular river or stream

“Most visitors and some residents will not know if they are in a low-lying area, or how far they are from a river or stream,” said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Having predetermined zones simplifies the evacuation process for local officials, residents and visitors.”

There is an online address lookup tool at KnowYourZone.nc.gov for residents in coastal counties to find their zone. The website also contains, county-by-county zone maps, educational materials, frequently asked questions and the North Carolina Hurricane Guide. The hurricane guide, which is available in both print and digital form, provides information for storm preparedness, response and recovery, and has been published in English and Spanish.
The Know Your Zone website is also available in Spanish at Conozca Su Zona.

The ReadyNC website continues to be the source for disaster preparedness information for North Carolina residents, with instructions on creating a family emergency plan and assembling an emergency kit. It also features live information on power outages and open shelters. ReadyNC.org is mobile friendly for phones, tablets and desktop computers and is available in English and Spanish. The ReadyNC app was retired after the 2019 hurricane season and is no longer available.

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