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Area emergency responders ready, available for Hurricane Dorian relief

SALISBURY — Area emergency responders say they are ready and available to assist people on the coast hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2 storm that had claimed seven lives by Wednesday.

Local Red Cross volunteers have already been deployed to both Florida and other parts of North Carolina.

“As part of a regional preparedness agreement, we have a cache of pieces of equipment to be used,” said Rowan County Emergency Services Chief Chris Soliz. “One piece was a large generator that has been delivered to a regional coordinating branch center in Kinston.”

Four staff members across the Emergency Services Division, including EMS, Emergency Management and fire personnel, are available for deployment if the state needs help with emergency response, logistics and support.

“We have not received a mission request but made ourselves available,” Soliz said.

He added that Rowan County isn’t expected to see any significant effects from the storm. In fact, forecasters say the area should expect less than an inch of rain. Residents can expect winds between 12 to 15 mph with gusts of 20 to 30 mph.

According to TJ Brown, chief of the Emergency Management Division, the storm is supposed to deliver less than a 10th of an inch of rain Thursday with windy conditions remaining until Friday afternoon.

Salisbury Fire Department officials say they have not received any requests for support, but they are standing by. The State Emergency Management Division and the Office of the State Fire Marshal has requested assistance from local fire departments, if needed, on the coast.

The Rowan Salvation Army chapter is waiting to hear if local people are needed to assist the hurricane-impacted areas.

Six volunteers from the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the American Red Cross, which includes Rowan County, have already deployed, said Red Cross community executive Sheila Crunkleton.

Crunkleton said four of those volunteers are in North Carolina and two are in Florida.

“At the beginning of a disaster, they are sheltering, feeding and providing logistics,” she said.

The volunteers are on a two-week assignment, but that can be extended. If they are not needed in one area, they will be reassigned.

Those not deployed are waiting to see where additional help is needed, Crunkleton said.

To receive notification about disasters and other emergencies in Rowan County, Soliz encourages residents to sign up for updates and warnings at www.readyrowan.org.

There is a link for access and functional needs that allows residents to register devices if they have medical conditions so that if there is a disaster, they are without transportation or are confined to their home, local assistance can be arranged.

In addition, residents can receive emergency messages through the RoCo alerts message system. Residents register to receive messages that can be sent to them via cellphone.

The alert system is a partnership between the County Emergency Management Division and the city of Salisbury and can be found at readyrowan.org.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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