Emergency response coordinators explain how to be prepared for hurricanes

Many people in Eastern Carolina know it’s important to have a kit ready in case of a hurricane, but they’re not the only ones who have to prepare.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 5:19 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Many people in Eastern Carolina know it’s important to have a kit ready in case of a hurricane, but they’re not the only ones who have to prepare.

Health officials spend countless hours saving lives when neighborhoods and communities are destroyed. WITN talked to them Tuesday about how they prepare to jump into action at a moment’s notice.

“What we get to do is really very special and unique, that we make sure the people in our community always have the capacity to seek out medical care,” Stephanie Seals, ECU Health disaster services specialist said.

When you need it most, ECU health first responders like her are waiting for your call.

“When hurricane season comes, we try to address our gaps, and when doing so, we try to look at our plans, how much fuel, water, food... our communications systems and our infrastructure,” Chris Starbuck, Eastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition healthcare preparedness coordinator said.

As we weather the peak of hurricane season, with two active disturbances headed our way, Starbuck said coordinators want the public to know the help they can offer, like their mass evacuation bus and mobile field hospital, which Seals worked in during past storms.

While there are resources available if needed, your first, and often best, line of defense is your own emergency plan. Officials recommend putting together a kit with things like food, water, batteries, and cleaning supplies: everything you need to survive without power and water for at least seven days.

“My biggest encouragement to everybody is to just start small. You can buy little things every month, go to the Dollar Tree, the dollar store, and get a few things every month to start building that kit. You don’t have to rush out and buy everything all at once because it can be a little expensive,” Seals said.

While there is a cost up-front, it’s certainly worth the comfort of feeling prepared.

Hurricanes aren’t the only disasters you need emergency kits for. Events like infrastructure and supply chain backups are possibilities, too.

For a full list of what to include for your own kit, head to ReadyNC.gov.

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