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Hurricane season: NHC's Emergency Management advises residents new and old to plan ahead

Camille Mojica

Thursday started the beginning of hurricane season. New Hanover County’s Emergency Management shared programs and advice for vulnerable populations in the county as well as new transplants dealing with hurricanes for the first time.

The design of the county’s new Government Center factored in lessons learned from Hurricane Florence in 2018 — most notably, emergency operations and the 9-11 call center are located close to one another.

The building is equipped with showers, a media briefing space, and big conference rooms to allow county staff to communicate quickly and effectively during a disaster.

The space allows staff to plan ahead, which is the paramount precaution to take. That’s according to Assistant Director of Emergency Management, Anna McCray.

"The number one tip for folks to keep in the back of their minds, is planning ahead and thinking ahead, is going to make it so that you're not going to be so panicked when an incident happens," she said.

The county has been working on best-practices training of staff and EMS personnel. After every response to an emergency, departments reassess together, and amend the emergency plans as needed.

For more vulnerable populations in the county such as those with mobility restrictions, or needs such as oxygen tanks, the county is there, McCray says. Residents can fill out a form online, and then will receive personal outreach by emergency staff to help individuals create their own personalized emergency plans.

“And what that does is it gives the population a chance to kind of raise their hand and say, Hey, I'm here, I might need some additional help, can you help me with planning.”

Residents can learn more about the Access & Functional Needs Registry here.

Please note: the Access & Functional Needs Registry is not intended for:

  • people who live in long-term care facilities
  • those who live in skilled care facilities
  • those who live in residential treatment facilities
  • those who have comprehensive healthcare services provided by a home health agency or hospice provider

More broad information on emergency preparedness for New Hanover County can be found here.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY and graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Her story focus revolves her deep care for children, young adults and mental health. You can reach her at cmojica@whqr.org.