Hurricane Florence: Be Patient Before Responding

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When disaster strikes, we all want to help those affected, be they human or animal. This morning, eastern and especially southeastern North Carolina communities are being inundated. Swift water rescue teams are performing multiple rescues each hour, and over 340,000 power outages have been reported. At times like these, many of us are tempted to rush out and provide assistance where we can. Please wait!

Hurricane Florence is a slow-moving storm that is going to dump a lot of rain; some weathermen have used terms like “epic” and “Biblical” to describe rainfall forecasts for large swaths of our state through Tuesday of next week. Those who rush in too soon often become statistics themselves, and at the very least may themselves need to be rescued, requiring assistance from responders who are already busy rescuing others. Today is a good day to help your neighbors, but venturing out onto the roads where you may become part of the problem should wait for another day.

Wait until it is safe to respond, then do so through the coordinated response system that is in place across our state. The Incident Command System is designed to provide timely assistance where needed, by people who have expertise in whatever kind of assistance is needed. This system also makes efficient use of both human and non-human resources by coordinating response efforts and recording the status of each request.

To provide assistance, please contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army or one of the faith-based response teams that are active partners in the North Carolina Emergency Management system. These organizations are in constant communication with NCEM’s Emergency Operations Center and have established well-planned, coordinated efforts to provide assistance where it is most needed.

If you need assistance contacting these organizations, feel free to call the Governor’s hotline, 2 – 1 – 1.