Governor activates state emergency response team
RALEIGH ń Gov. Mike Easley today directed the State Emergency Response Team to activate at 7 a.m. tomorrow in advance of Tropical Storm Hanna. The SERT has been monitoring both Gustav and Hanna throughout the weekend and is already making preparations so the state is ready for wherever Hanna decides to go.
ěBasically we all have 36 to 48 hours to get prepared for this storm, and then there could be another one right behind it,î said Easley. ěSo it is very important for everybody to have their emergency kit including three days of food, funds, fuel and clothes ready and have their evacuation plan in place. Be sure to let all family members know who your family contact is, like an uncle in Kansas, in case you have to move quickly so that each person will know where to call to check on the others.î
Hanna has weakened to a tropical storm this morning and is moving slowly west in the Bahamas. However, forecasters expect it to reform into a hurricane and begin moving north/northwest tonight and tomorrow. If the storm continues on the current forecast track, all of North Carolina will receive heavy rainfall which could cause flooding and is of special concern in the areas that were just flooded by the remnants of Fay.
State Emergency Management Division leaders have been holding conference calls all weekend with SERT partners including the N.C. National Guard. Plans are being developed based on the scenarios of Hugoís track in 1989 that made landfall in Charleston, S.C., and traveled up through Charlotte and into the mountains and Fran in 1996 that came ashore near Wilmington and moved northwest into the Triangle area.
The state has put its various specially trained storm teams on alert. They include 25 Swift Water Rescue Teams, 11 Urban Search and Rescue Teams, 36 Wilderness Search and Rescue Teams, 34 State Medical Assistance Teams, seven Public Health Regional Surveillance Teams, and seven Regional Response Teams for hazardous materials. The state emergency warehouse already has food on hand to feed 50,000 people for a day-and-a-half and water for 50,000 people for one day. The state has pre-arranged contracts in place for additional resources including food, water, ice, generators and other emergency needs.
Planning with county emergency managements agencies for local response is ongoing today. County officials are going over their evacuation plans, but with the stormís track uncertain, it is too early to decide what areas local officials might need evacuate.
Easley urged every citizen to have an emergency plan and emergency kit ready, stressing that those who have plans and supplies will fare better during any emergency than those who do not.
ěEmergencies disrupt the systems we depend on, electricity, clean water, grocery stores, gas stations, transportation, commerce and education,î said Easley. ěIf people can be prepared for those disruptions, then emergency responders can focus on helping those who are in life-threatening situations.î
An emergency preparedness kit should include enough of the following to last a family for at least 3-5 days:
Water – 1 gallon per person per day (a week’s supply of water is preferable)
Water purification kit or bleach
First aid kit and first aid book
Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup & cereals
Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
Non-electric can opener
Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
Blanket or sleeping bag per person
Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Extra pair of eyeglasses
Extra house and car keys
Fire extinguisher – ABC-type
Food, water, leash and carrier for pets
Cash and change
Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes