NC emergency leaders: Find alternate shelter options with family, friends

Posted July 31, 2020 6:41 a.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2020 10:41 a.m. EDT

— Crews at the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center are preparing to respond to Hurricane Isaias, which is expected to impact the state by Monday and bring rip currents to the coast this weekend.

Anyone forced to evacuate their home during Isaias or any other storm this season is strongly encouraged to stay with family and friends or at a hotel to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Smaller, socially distanced group shelters will be available if needed, but they should be a last resort, officials say.

State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said North Carolina is in a good position to react to whatever Isaias brings -- including securing shelter optons and gathering extra PPE for rescue crews.

"We are working closely with our responder teams, our urban search and rescue teams, our swift water teams and our helicopter rescue teams," Sprayberry said. "They've got to have PPE as they execute their missions."

In addition to gathering PPE, Sprayberry said the state is prepared to use hotel rooms, schools and other alternate shelter options during COVID-19.

Wake County Communications Director Dara Demi said, although officials aren't ready to release the names of potential shelter locations, "we have a variety of settings ranging from schools to hotels available to meet the needs of each specific weather event while taking the appropriate safeguards to avoid the spread of COVID-19."

Many of the volunteers that usually run these shelters are senior citizens that are more at risk from COVID-19, so Sprayberry is asking younger people, like college students, to step forward and volunteer this year.

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