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Beatty Meets With National Guard To Discuss State's Storm-Preparation Plans

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As Hurricane Isabel approaches the North Carolina coast, state emergency managers are getting their storm plan into gear. And because of past experience, high-ranking officials are taking a low-key approach this time.

Who can forget when Floyd came calling? Or when Fran slammed the Triangle?

State Secretary of

Crime Control and Public Safety

Bryan Beatty has not forgotten. And he said the past makes people better prepared for the future.

In getting ready for Isabel, Beatty has met with the National Guard, the Red Cross and emergency management personnel. He said the state has more resouces since Fran and Floyd and will be more prepared for Isabel.

During Fran and Floyd, small-stream inland flooding was a big problem. The water was up over the road at Crabtree Creek. Beatty said that, this time around, the state will be ready for that.

"We now have urban search-and-rescue team capability," he said. "We have swift-water rescue training that has been given across the state. So in a number of ways, we are better prepared now than we were just a few years ago."

During Fran and Floyd, many local rescue squads had no expertise in swift-water rescue. Since then, using federal grants, local squads statewide have received specialized training -- for example, the right way to pluck someone off a truck overwhelmed by rushing waters.

Beatty met with the North Carolina National Guard on Monday, knowing that 1,800 troops are deployed in the global fight on terrorism. But there are still almost 5,000 Guardsmen ready to help with Isabel.

"If emergency management calls and says we need this or we need that, the National Guard's going to be there to give it to them," said N.C. National Guard Capt. Robert Carver.

Of course, as one Guardsman put it, the best plan is one they never have to use.

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