NEW HANOVER COUNTY – Proactively preparing for an emergency is something every citizen in New Hanover County should do. County officials are committed to leading in those efforts to be ready when any type of emergency occurs.
As part of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners 115th annual conference earlier this month, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Deb Hays and Commissioner Rob Zapple completed the 100 Counties Prepared emergency training for elected officials.
They were two of 61 county officials to take part in the class, which focused on helping county commissioners throughout the state understand their roles in serving the public during a time of crisis.
“Living on the coast means that significant storms are something we have to prepare for, as well as other emergencies that may occur,” said Vice-Chair Hays. “Our Emergency Management team does a spectacular job of preplanning before an event and responding when something impacts our community, and this training gave me even better insight into their efforts on a daily basis and during an emergency.”
Commissioner Zapple agreed, saying: “It’s important for us as elected officials to understand how we can support emergency efforts, amplify critical and life-saving messages, and ensure the best emergency response to help keep our citizens safe. This training was a good refresher for me, and a way to help ensure our Board of Commissioners is prepared to respond and support during any crisis in our community.”
Training included an overview of legal terminology, roles and responsibilities related to emergency preparedness, a discussion of the role commissioners play in emergency management, information on crisis communication and a panel discussion with former N.C. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry and former FEMA Director Brock Long.
While Vice-Chair Hays and Commissioner Zapple were taking part in NCACC emergency training in Cabarrus County, back home employees spent time engaged in yearly hurricane exercise training, which prepares New Hanover County staff for the roles they play in the Emergency Operations Center during a hurricane.
The five-day event, organized by New Hanover County Emergency Management, serves as a yearly refresher for staff on county processes and emergency plans before, during and after a storm to ensure the county provides the highest level of service so residents are prepared, safe, and supported. Photos of the county’s training can be viewed here.
“Each of our employees has a key role in helping the citizens of New Hanover County during a time of crisis and it’s important they understand what they must do when the moment happens,” said Emergency Management Director Steven Still. “Our training this year was focused on the county’s recently -approved and updated Emergency Operations Plan that outlines emergency response across all of New Hanover County, including our municipalities. It’s so important to have this time to learn, create greater understanding of our operations, and ensure we are prepared, especially as we are heading into the peak of Atlantic hurricane season.”
For residents, being prepared for an emergency is a process that should start now. Everyone is encouraged to plan for what they will do when disaster strikes, build a kit with needed supplies and learn how to stay informed now so they’ll be connected to the best information possible.
All this information and more to help residents and families prepare can be found as part of ReadyNHC.com.