Officials: Kits, evacuation plan key to hurricane preparedness

Posted May 21, 2008

— Having a plan for evacuation and a pre-packed hurricane kit are key preparations for successfully coming through a hurricane, state official stressed Wednesday.

To drive home the need to think ahead, Gov. Mike Easley declared May 25-31 “Hurricane Preparedness Week.”

Hurricane season starts on June 1, and it's something to take seriously. North Carolina ranks behind only Florida in its vulnerability to hurricanes.

Officials said residents in the state should have a hurricane kit, containing food and clothing for three to seven days. It should include important papers, in a plastic bag to protect against rain and flooding.

The kits should also include a supply of any prescription medications needed, personal hygiene items, cash or a checkbook and a first aid kit.

Officials said people should have an evacuation plan, too. If pets are involved, people should make a list of pet-friendly shelters or hotels, officials said.

For the past two days, the State Emergency Response Team has been training on how to handle emergencies like floods and hurricanes. Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in town this week helping with the drill.

The Emergency Management Division has prepared an evacuation and sheltering plan for the entire coastal region.

Bryan Beatty, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, said the plan was born from Hurricane Katrina, which caused destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi in August 2005.

"We looked at our plans and knew that they were probably not adequate for a large evacuation and shelter," Beatty said.

The Coastal Region Evacuation and Sheltering Standard Operation Guide identifies counties that are at risk of storm-surge flooding and ones that will host evacuees. The guide, which is updated every year, includes the evacuation and sheltering of elderly and medically fragile people in 20 coastal counties.

The biggest change in the plan this year is the coordination between counties to make sure efforts are not duplicated, Beatty said. The plan calls for school bus and Department of Correction vehicles to help evacuate the coast.

Beatty said the state hasn’t had a major evacuation in 50 years since Hurricane Hazel threatened. With more development on the coast and a lot more people to evacuate, Beatty urged people to be prepared.

Since the 2002 ice storm, officials said they have also started providing emergency information in Spanish.


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  • shine May 22, 2008

    Go through a few and have to endure them and you would be glad to see some peanut butter and saltines.

  • PC is for Losers May 21, 2008

    Lava gum? That's soap yo.

  • NCTeacher May 21, 2008

    Whatelseisnew- I totally agree. If the National Guard is not going to take the stubborn people by force- they need to leave them to their own devices and not come back and rescue them later. I have ridden out a couple of hurricanes on the coast. Yes- it was scary, but had I gotten into trouble it would have been no one's fault but my own

  • lmarie May 21, 2008

    Skippy peanut butter, saltines, and lava gum? I think that would sooner kill me than keep me alive

  • whatelseisnew May 21, 2008

    Here is one of the biggest changes I would like to see in State and Federal policies regarding evacuation. When an area is put under mandatory evacuation, any people that choose to not leave, need to know that they are then on their own. The state nor the feds should risk anyone else's life to go into a storm ravaged area to get people out that were either too stupid or too stubborn to leave the area. We get ample warning of hurricanes and there is no excuse to stay in an area that is likely to be hit. It is long past due that people need to relearn the lesson that they are responsible for the choices that they make.