Governor Urges Residents to Prepare for Emergencies Here While Helping Texas Neighbors Declares September as Preparedness Month

RALEIGH

While Gulf Coast states respond to Hurricane Harvey and many North Carolinians continue rebuilding nearly one year after Hurricane Matthew, Governor Roy Cooper today urged residents to update their emergency plans and kits during North Carolina Preparedness Month.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with Texans hit by record flooding, something many communities in North Carolina know about from personal experience,” Governor Cooper said. “We want to help, and North Carolinians are rallying to support Hurricane Harvey victims, from sending financial donations to deploying search and rescue.”

“Hurricane Matthew taught us – and Harvey has reminded us – that conditions can change rapidly and it may take emergency workers several days to reach you,” Cooper said. “Never has it been more evident how vital it is that individuals, families, schools and businesses have emergency plans and kits in place.”   

Gov. Cooper has declared September North Carolina Preparedness Month to encourage North Carolinians to be disaster-ready by putting together emergency kits and taking other key steps.

Emergency kits should include copies of important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, social security cards, medical and bank information, bottled water and non-perishable food, personal hygiene supplies, changes of clothes, cell phone chargers, flashlight and portable radio with extra batteries. Supplies should be kept in a waterproof container that can easily be transported. Remember to include supplies for pets or special needs, as well.

Disasters can strike at any time, so it is imperative that everyone know what to do and where to go in times of danger. Last year alone, North Carolina had 17 tornadoes, 626 severe thunderstorms with high winds, 213 hailstorms, 245 flood events and winter storms that caused power outages and dangerous road conditions. 

Emergency Management officials are currently keeping a close eye on Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean as well as the potential for severe weather this afternoon from a storm system moving across the state today.

While Hurricane Matthew never made landfall in the state, the storm lingered off the Carolinas coast Oct. 8-9, 2016 dumping between eight and 12 inches of rain across much of Eastern North Carolina. Thirty-one people died as a result of the storm that closed more than 600 roads, sent more than 4,000 people to seek safety in shelters and left billions of dollars in damages. Fifty counties qualified for federal assistance and many communities are still recovering.

“By their very nature, emergencies are unpredictable,” Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said. “The easiest, most economical way to protect your family or business is to plan ahead, practice and discuss your emergency plans, know the risks you face, and gather supplies. Doing so now will help you stay calm and react accordingly when faced with an emergency.” 

“Another lesson we learned during Hurricane Matthew is the importance of having the right types of disaster relief,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “People across the country want to help – and storm victims need help. But, if not carefully managed, too many supplies can create more headaches than help.” 

State emergency management officials offered some Dos and Don’ts for Hurricane Harvey relief:

DO:

  • Donate money through a trusted organization. For information on finding a reputable place to give and avoid charity scams, visit ncdoj.gov. 
  • Register and Volunteer through a reputable charity. Those groups work with disaster response officials to ensure that the right help gets to the areas that need it most and are prepared to handle the surge of volunteers. (A list of volunteer and charity organizations can be found at nvoad.org.)
  • Be Prepared Yourself. Have an emergency plan and kit. Stay informed. 

DON’T:

  • Don’t send stuff.  Sending supplies or items you no longer need – unless asked - creates problems. Staff have to focus on sorting and storing stuff instead of helping survivors. 
  • Don’t just show up to help. Unexpected volunteers who aren’t working through a reputable organization create an additional burden for emergency officials. 
  • Don’t forget about the survivors. Your help will be needed for months and years to come.

The governor’s declaration coincides with National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in which Americans are encouraged prepare for all types of emergencies.

For more information on how to ensure your family is disaster ready, go to ReadyNC.org or download the free ReadyNC app, which features real time weather, traffic and shelter information. 

 

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