DPS Dispatch

It’s early May and COVID-19 dominates our thoughts and the news headlines. Hurricane season is the furthest thing from our minds. It’s not though. It’s starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Now is the time to prepare to ensure your family is safe in the event a hurricane affects your home. May 3-9 is Hurricane Preparedness Week, and it is the time to prepare for the upcoming season. Follow the tips below to be ready when a storm hits.  Emergency Kit

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Governor Declares March 1-7 Severe Weather Preparedness Week Showers are beginning to help flowers and trees to develop buds, birds are singing early morning songs, and the sound of thunder is rumbling across the sky. Spring is a thing of beauty in North Carolina, but it is also the most active season for tornados and severe thunderstorms.  As you are getting the garden ready for all that will begin to bloom in the next few months, also be thinking severe weather preparedness.   

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Storms leave behind big messes and communities need help with clean up. That’s certainly the case on Ocracoke, where several feet of storm surge inundated the island when Hurricane Dorian passed by last September. As residents cleaned out flooded homes, large piles of curbside debris quickly developed all over the island – made up of ruined furniture, soaked drywall and damaged floorboards.  

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With winter weather in the forecast, now is the time to prepare. To remain safe during this time, the best thing you can do is not drive on the roads, but if you must, plan ahead and review how to operate your vehicle in winter weather. Prepare Your Vehicle Before you hit the road, it’s a good rule of thumb to prepare your vehicle ahead of time. The lower temperatures can cause tire pressure and battery power to drop and may cause moisture to freeze the gas lines. Check your tire pressure, test your battery and keep your gas tank at least half full.

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More North Carolina counties have been designated as StormReady by the National Weather Service (NWS), as part of the Service’s program to help communities across America mitigate the effects from natural disasters. Twelve more counties joined 74 counties and nine communities in North Carolina already recognized as being StormReady. This year’s additional StormReady counties are Halifax, Macon, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Montgomery, Northampton, Perquimans, Rowan, Sampson and Watauga. 

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The Great Southeast Shakeout is a week away and you can be part of the growing crowd to participate in the world’s largest earthquake drill on Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. Join the more than 2.1 million people in the southeast who have registered their organization, school, agency, business or family and are ready to perform a ‘Drop, Cover, and Hold On’ drill, the recommended action for people to take during an earthquake. Among those joining in the Shakeout are more than 100 North Carolina K-12 schools and districts, which accounts for more than 347,000 of the 364,000 registered participants in the state.

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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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