Penderlea Volunteer Fire Department Receives 4/9E ISO Rating

Penderlea VFD has received a NCDOI Insurance Rating of a 4/9E.  The fire department along with other fire departments and other agencies where graded on a point scale in September for this final grade. The point system grading system is 10% from Emergency Communications Center. Fire department makes up 50% of the points system. Water supply is 40% and Community Risk Reduction makes up the last 5.5% for a total of 105.5 points.  The Office of the State Fire Marshal comes in and reviews many different things in the different areas of the grading system. After a few months the final score from a Class 1 being the best to a Class 10 having no fire protection coverage is finalized. The Penderlea VFD has been a Class 9 and was the minimum rate fire protection class. In February of next year the new insurance rating will go into effect. The fire insurance premium drop will be for all fire insurance policies that are within the five-mile district of the Penderlea VFD. Anyone living in the five to six-mile area will continue to receive a class 9 E ratings.

“NCDOI will pass this on to the insurance companies,” said Pender County Fire Marshal Tommy Batson.

Anyone unsure about how much of a saving they may see, contact your local insurance agent.

“The hard work of many people and agencies from this will pay off for the homeowners each year in saving the affected response area of Penderlea,” said Batson.

The inspection conducted in September was a review of record keeping, contract agreements, fire response, training, staffing, water haul, water sources, equipment and many other items. The other agencies involved in the inspection besides the volunteers of Penderlea VFD included the Pender County Fire Marshal Office, Pender County GIS, Pender County Sheriff Office E911 Center, Pender County Utilities, Pender EMS & Fire, Burgaw VFD, Wallace VFD, Harrells VFD, Atkinson VFD, Shiloh VFD and Maple Hill VFD.

Following the data, North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3

Gov. Cooper & health officials urge North Carolinians to recommit to prevention efforts

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.

“As this pandemic continues, I know it’s difficult and tiring to keep up our guard, especially when we’re gathered with people we love. But it’s necessary. No one wants to spread COVID-19 accidentally to friends or family, so we must keep prevention at the forefront,” said Governor Cooper. “Wearing a mask shows you care about people. Wearing a mask is an easy way to protect our communities and look out for each other. Confronting the virus head on and doing our part as individuals is good for our health and good for our economy.”

Also today, Governor Cooper updated on progress with the NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program. Since Governor Cooper announced the (HOPE) Program last week, 12,000 eligible applicants have filed for assistance. The HOPE Program provides assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to

“As the number of applications climbs higher every day, it should make us remember that it’s more than a number. Every one of those applications represents a family having to make impossible choices between basic necessities during a global pandemic,” said Governor Cooper.

Yesterday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen and Secretary of Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks sent a letter to local officials in communities with increased viral spread urging their continued action in fighting COVID-19 and suggesting additional measures to mitigate its spread. Read more about that letter here.

“We are doing everything we can to slow the spread of this virus. This simple fact is we can’t do it on our own. Ignoring the virus doesn’t make it go away – just the opposite,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “As hard as this is, it will end. We will get through this. Let’s do it by looking out for one another. Whatever your reason, get behind the mask.”

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

Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
• North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.

In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.

Laboratory Testing
• Testing capacity is high.

Tracing Capability

• The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.

• There have been almost 250,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.

Personal Protective Equipment
• North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order 170.

Read the slides from today’s briefing.

Hurricane Preparedness drive-thru give-a-way

Pender County– Pender Long Term Recovery Group will host a Hurricane Preparedness Drive-Thru Expo this Saturday, Aug. 22, with two locations – one in Burgaw and another in Hampstead.

The Pender Long Term Recovery Group encourages Pender County citizens to prepare for the hurricane season, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hurricane Preparedness event will be a drive-thru pick-up with two locations within Pender County. Drive-thru locations are Topsail Baptist Church in Hampstead, 18885 US Highway 17 North, from 9 – 11 a.m., and in Burgaw at the Gateway Community Church, 416 W Bridgers St., from 12 – 2 p.m.

“Supplies to be given will include Hurricane Preparedness literature, Partner rebuilding resources, ‘Build Your Own Go Kit’ supplies, buckets, and more. Available while supplies last, one distribution load per car, first 125 cars at each location will receive a box of non-perishable foods for your go kit,” said Green.  “We would like to thank all our sponsors and participating organizations.”

“The Pender LTRG is a long-term recovery group that formed as the result of Hurricane Florence,” states Olivia Dawson, Pender Long Term Recovery Group Co-Chair. “We look forward to serving residents of Pender County assisting with ways to be prepared for the possibility of a next hurricane.”

“We want Pender residents to ‘Be Prepared, Make a Plan, & Stay Connected’,” states Michelle Green, Pender Long Term Recovery Group Project Coordinator. “Since we have to prepare the community a little different this year, we thought we would follow similar groups with a drive-thru process with two locations to serve as many residents as possible.”

The Pender LTRG is composed of non-profits, faith-based organizations, and charitable organizations who work in union to meet the unmet needs of Pender County Residents impacted by disaster. The Pender LTRG works in collaboration with other organizations to assess needs, offer resources, and ensure that residents are assisted.

Visit our Facebook page and website,, for more information.

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 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 and on the website 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

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 and on the website If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.



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 and on the website 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 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 and on the website If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

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