DPS Dispatch

North Carolina’s Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) bring a variety of skills as well as resources and come from all over to help rebuild communities. A VOAD is a volunteer agency that responds to disasters as part of their overall mission. NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry notes that North Carolina’s VOAD program plays a key role in disaster response and recovery.

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When a hurricane or winter storm moves through an area and emergency shelters are opened, Functional Assessment Support Teams (FAST) help those with access and functional needs to find a safe place to stay and provide the resources  they need. NCEM recently held the second of three regional trainings to help ensure those teams are ready to serve in North Carolina.

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State Disaster Recovery Act provided funding Barbara Fletcher’s home near Princeton sits less than a mile from the Neuse River in one direction and Mill Creek in the other. She has experienced flooding a few times over the years, but Hurricane Mathew’s flooding was the worst. “I moved here in 1975 and put a $20 bill down on the house,” she said. “When I came back after that last flood, the bottom was saturated. You could pull out a drawer and the drawer would fall apart.”

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The humming of a helicopter may not be a sound that many North Carolinians notice day to day, but that sound could mean hope for someone in dire need of rescue. The NC Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) is a specialized team of NC National Guard and NC State Highway Patrol pilots paired with local first responders who serve as rescue technicians under coordination of NC Emergency Management personnel all working together towards a common goal—saving lives. 

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A delegation of state officials, including some from the Department of Public Safety, visited the African nation of Botswana in July to share their knowledge with government agencies in that country, as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen, along with Guard forces from Alabama and New Jersey, participated this month in Upward Minuteman 2019, a large training exercise with the Botswana Defense Forces, promoting the National Guard’s State Partnership programs on the African continent.   

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Pets—whether furry, scaled or feathered—are valued members of any family. When disasters strike, many families are at a loss of what to do with their pets, especially if they must evacuate. That’s why throughout the month of June, which is also Pet Preparedness Month, emergency management teams are encouraging pet owners to incorporate their animal friends into their emergency plans.

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The following message is from North Carolina Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. --- The heavy rains that drenched parts of North Carolina this week and resulted in severe flooding to different areas are an all too familiar reminder of the importance of making sure you and your family are prepared in case of an emergency. June also marks the official start to another hurricane season and as so many of us have experienced first-hand, it only takes one storm to do serious damage.

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At the first hint of winter weather, Southerners are notorious for rushing to the store to stock up on bread and milk. Will it be a five loaves, two-gallon storm? Or more of a single-loaf, half-gallon flurry?    While we can laugh at our snow/milk obsession, we are serious about ensuring your family is ready for winter weather. And with the season’s first winter storm on the horizon, now is the time to review those emergency plans and update those supply kits that may have been depleted during recent months.     Emergency officials urge you to follow these safety tips:

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Encountering an active assailant is not a situation anyone wants to be in, but it is something we need to be prepared for. That’s exactly what NC first responders across several North Carolina counties have been doing this summer. The goal of these drills is to test emergency responders’ abilities to react and recover during an active shooter scenario and practice lifesaving measures.

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Winter Weather Preparedness Week is Dec. 3-9 While most of us have yet to see any snow, sleet, or freezing rain this year, winter is approaching fast and emergency officials are urging residents to prepare.

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1. You live in hurricane, tornado, wildfire or blizzard hot spots (no pun intended), but have no emergency plan in place. Discuss with your family how to stay safe in your home and where to go if you need to evacuate. Be sure to include pets in your plan. 2. You've not updated - or worse, not made -an emergency kit. Include enough food & water for 3 - 7 days for each person and pet, changes of clothes, medicines, important papers, etc. 3. No battery-operated weather radios in your home. Have multiple ways to stay informed - especially when the power goes out! Be safe, not scared! 

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If you ask Eric Wiseman to tell you about himself and his work, he will downplay his accomplishments, talking less about himself and more about the work. He will stress the importance of public service and how rewarding he finds his work as an area coordinator for NC Emergency Management to be. He won’t tell you he was recently named Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year for both North Carolina and the Southeast region; not unless you bring it up. That’s not too surprising when you consider many who know him describe Wiseman as a humble man who has dedicated his life and career to helping others.

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