North Carolina Helps Virginia Recover from Storms
For the second time in six months North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) is helping their neighbors recover from devastating storms. As part of a national compact for disaster relief efforts, an NCEM manager has traveled north to help Virginia recover from February’s deadly storms and tornadoes. Last fall, the state sent hundreds of emergency workers, bottled water, road barricades and search teams to help South Carolina recover from historic flooding.
“There are no state boundaries when it comes to helping the citizens of our states recover from natural disasters,” Governor Pat McCrory said. “We help each other because it’s the right thing to do and because, as coastal governors, we know it’s only a matter of time when we will be needing recovery help from our neighbors.”
Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry noted North Carolina was spared the brunt of damaging storms that swept the Southeast in late February.
“The severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept across North Carolina February 24 were much more devastating for Virginia,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “We’re happy to lend a hand and expertise to our neighbors in time of need, just as others have supported us when we have needed it.”
Virginia sent a request for a program manager with debris removal experience to help coordinate the massive cleanup efforts of downed trees, limbs and other rubbish left in the storm’s wake. Working through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which provides a coordinated relief effort for disaster-stricken states to help get the right type of resources at the right time, NCEM sent their assistant recovery chief, Andy Innis. For nine days, Innis worked for Virginia Department of Emergency Management consulting with county administrators, emergency management and public works officials coordinating debris removal operations. With vast cleanup experience from previous tornadoes and Hurricane Irene in 2011, Innis was able to provide procedural advice to maintain eligibility for possible federal reimbursement.
“North Carolina Emergency Management is very fortunate to have a strong team of professionals who are more than willing to share their knowledge and experience to help others,” said NCEM Director Mike Sprayberry. “Having additional staff who have ‘been there, done that’ is invaluable during disaster response and recovery.”
The requesting state (Virginia in this case) fully reimburses for the total costs incurred. All resources are coordinated between state emergency management agencies.
The EMAC system was developed by state governors following Hurricane Andrew in Florida when critical resources were needed by the state of Florida. North Carolina has sent teams to help with numerous disaster response efforts including South Carolina following record flooding in 2015, Louisiana and Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina and Alaska following flooding in 2007.
“Good neighbors are always able to lend a helping hand when asked,” said Sprayberry.