Onslow EMS learned from Hurricane Florence, prepared in high season

Between 2005 and 2011, eastern North Carolina had possibly the quietest time most can remember when it comes to hurricanes dancing along our shores.

Before that we had Fran, Bertha, Dennis and Floyd. Then it’s Irene, Arthur, Matthew and Florence.

National Weather Service meteorologists are once again predicting a busier than usual hurricane season, but what does this mean for ENC? If the past years are any indication, at least one storm will climb on the East Coast and in our backyards.

When that time comes, it’s better to be over-prepared than not to be unprepared at all.

In the event of a natural disaster, having the items you need on a daily basis, as well as items you never thought you would need, could make the difference in the time it takes for a displaced family to recover.

Notifying residents with reminders isn’t the only thing Onslow County Emergency Services do to prepare for emergencies during hurricane season. A lot of planning and preparation goes into keeping the county and the people of Onslow safe.

From annual training, drills and drills, to working with all municipalities and basic emergency services, Onslow runs hurricane scenarios throughout the county to allow necessary adjustments if and when EMS is called.

Onslow EMS deputy director Stacie Miles is leading the county’s preparations and, since Hurricane Florence, has already had to deal with a hurricane during a pandemic.

“We had to make some adjustments last year because of COVID with our shelter teams, but the training allows people to get their hands on the equipment they will be using, learn some of the individual items and keep track of the process of using them, ”Miles said.

Some are still recovering: Onslow residents still waiting to return home after Hurricane Florence

After Florence, officials conducted an after-action debriefing across the county where they identified between 30 and 40 areas of concern or weakness for a more harmonious response going forward. One of them was the change of first responders.

Miles explained after Florence showed some areas that were cut off by the flooding, EMS now groups what they call “first responder pods” inside those areas before the flooding occurs just in case. assistance would be needed.

“Florence was so different. Also, I think for us and how we spoke to the public about the storm was different. Talking about the dangers and the impacts and not so much about the category of the storm.”

Complacency can set in with those who have been through multiple hurricanes, but no matter how big the storm is, it’s always best to have a plan of action.

Onslow County Emergency Services will tell you it’s the little things that stay, the forgetful. Things that you need not only in your day-to-day life, but also in the long term.

“A lot of people think about food, water, but it’s the medicine you might need, an extra pair of contact lenses or glasses, toys for your children. The other important thing is to prepare. your home and document what’s in your home Take photos so you can show the before and after, ”Miles added.

Onslow EMS: Prepare for an emergency

Especially for new owners or new owners in the area, finding out where the hazards and areas of flooding are in the county is another important tool to have at your disposal.

In the event that Onslow County needs to activate the Emergency Response Team, Miles added an important note for residents to remember who choose to evacuate their homes.

Last year Onslow’s hurricane shelters were operating under COVID-19 safety precautions and will do so again this year. Onslow remains in compliance with CDC and Red Cross guidelines and strongly encourages citizens to contact friends and family to find a safe place to evacuate before choosing shelters.

Visit the Onslow County Emergency Medical Service website for more information on emergency preparedness.

Journalist Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at [email protected] Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription for as little as $ 1 per month. JDNews.com.subscribenow


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