MOREHEAD CITY — It was all about being prepared for the next hurricane and how to get help with recovery Saturday during the first Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery Expo at the Crystal Coast Civic Center.
Twenty-five state and local organizations, agencies and nonprofits that assist residents with preparedness and recovery provided information to the more than 100 people who attended.
Carteret County Emergency Services, Carteret Warriors for Recovery, the N.C. United Methodist Church disaster response team of Newport and the Curtis Media Group teamed up to present the expo, one of many being held across the area following Hurricane Florence, which hit eastern North Carolina last September.
County Emergency Services Director Stephen Rea said, “Our plan is to hold one every year from now on during National Hurricane Preparedness Week in May,” he said. “We are very pleased with the turnout. We are especially focusing on the recovery phase and it takes all of these organizations to make the recovery phase easier for citizens.”
Jennifer Melton, a board member with Carteret Warriors for Recovery, a nonprofit that provides free furniture to families once they get back in their homes, said, “The goal is to help people be prepared and we still have so many people in recovery that we wanted to provide help to people who are still trying to get back in their homes.”
Every aspect of disaster preparedness and recovery was represented, from Carteret Craven Electric Cooperative, who provided information about staying safe when using generators, to the N.C. Department of Insurance, who provided information on how to best get insurance assistance.
Lisa Galizia with CCEC said the two main points the company was trying to get out was how to safely use generators and how to use the group’s power grid map after a storm.
“We want to remind people that if they use their generator when our guys are on the lines they need to be aware because the power can shoot down the lines and injure our workers,” she said. “We also want to encourage people to use our power grid map. We know people are frustrated when the power goes out and call our telephone lines, and they usually can’t get through. We know immediately when the power goes out and where it is by the maps, so you don’t need to call.”
The new Salvation Army Captains Aaron and Jamie Goldfarb were on hand to share information about the assistance they provide families and about the new Salvation Army building, scheduled to be finished in October.
“We will be able to prepare and serve 10,000 meals out of our kitchen and have a walk-in cooler and freezer to meet all of the needs of the county,” Capt. Goldfarb said. “We will also be a first response sleeping quarters and our building is rated for 155 mph winds, so we might be one of the last buildings standing in the county, but we want to be here to serve. We are also assisting families who are still out of their homes.”
As well as organizations assisting people, Shaun Moran, a volunteer with Austin Veterinary Outreach and Rescue, was on hand to educate people on the importance of making sure their pets are up-to-date on vaccinations and microchipped when residents evacuate with their pets.
“After Flo (Hurricane Florence), we helped evacuate 250 animals from the county to other shelters, but several of them couldn’t be accepted because they didn’t have their paperwork showing their pets were up-to-date on their shots. You must have your pet’s documentation when you evacuate,” she said. “We also had 75 dogs we weren’t able to match up with their owners after the storm because their pets weren’t microchipped.”
To help with the problem, Ms. Moran said Austin Veterinary Outreach was sponsoring a free- and low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13 at Glad Tidings Church in Morehead City. Pre-registration will begin at 11 a.m.
The group will also hold a free microchip clinic from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19 at Coastal Chiropractic in Beaufort.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.