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Ref: North Carolina community hosts hurricane preparedness forum

Myrtle Beach Online

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Storm forum aims to inform newcomers

By Steve Jones - The Sun News

SHALLOTTE, N.C. --Brunswick County Emergency Services is inviting all residents to a first-ever public forum on hurricane preparedness that is to include some of the state's top emergency management officials.

Scott Garner, emergency services deputy director, believes the forum is particularly important for the thousands of new people who have moved to Brunswick County since last year's hurricane season.
"A lot of those people have never been through a storm like a hurricane," Garner said.
The forum will deal with preparedness, evacuation, shelters and other hurricane-related topics that are routine for people who have been through a hurricane. It will also look at the storms from the perspective of Bryan Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, which includes statewide emergency management issues. William Ingram Jr., adjutant general of the N.C. National Guard, is scheduled to be at the forum as well.
Beatty's department assembles state emergency management officials as storms approach and works with local officials on things such as pre-storm emergency declarations, evacuation timing and traffic flow coordination, as well as post-storm assistance to areas that need it.
The National Guard stations personnel and equipment in areas expected to be hit and is available to help with emergencies during storms and relief afterwards.
Brunswick County opens a local Emergency Operations Center that operates before, during and after storms. It works with municipal, county, state and federal agencies to coordinate efforts and disseminate information to maximize available resources.
Brunswick residents who go to the forum will learn the specifics of what they need to do to prepare for storms and where they can get information to help them to decide how to react to the changing weather conditions.
The county's Emergency Services operations, Garner said, further hopes the forum will be an opportunity to expand its list of special needs residents, which now number more than 300. The county contacts those on the list when hurricanes threaten to see what assistance they may need. It can, for instance, provide transportation to special needs residents who want to go to shelters rather than ride out storms at home.
Garner said Emergency Services does a lot of community-based outreach for hurricane preparations throughout the county.
But he hopes the forum can reach residents who may not have been able to attend those sessions and others who want to learn about all the services and operations available during the storms.

If you go
What | Hurricane Preparedness Forum

When | July 26, 7-9 p.m.

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