- Before a Disaster
- During a Disaster
- After a Disaster
- Business Preparedness
- Visitor Preparedness
- Pet Preparedness
Preparedness Before the Disaster
Preparing NOW for an emergency can make a big difference in ensuring the safety and well being of yourself and those around you.
The Department of Emergency Management would like all of its citizens to take the following three simple steps to be prepared before disaster strikes.
Make A Kit
Let us help you create your emergency kit. Click here!
Make A Plan
How will you communicate with your family? Let us help, click here for a fillable plan from FEMA.
Do you know what hazards are in our area? Do you know what is currently happening around you? Stay informed!
When it comes to protecting your property from flooding, you can look all over the internet for suggestions, but we have tried to help you narrow your search down with the following links:
Dry Floodproofing your home - Federal Alliance for Safe Homes/FLASH
Wet Floodproofing your home - Federal Alliance for Safe Homes/FLASH
Did you know?
- More tornadoes are recorded during the months of May and June than in any other month.
- Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3pm and 9pm, however, they can and have occurred at any time of the day or night
- Tornadoes predominately move from the southwest to the northeast, however they have been known to move in any direction along with the parent thunderstorm.
- Tornadoes average a travel speed of 25-40 miles per hour, but have been recorded from 5-60 mph.
- Strong tornadoes last for twenty minutes or more and may have winds of up to 200 mph.
- Violent tornadoes can last for more than an hour with winds between 200 and 300 mph. (these are rare)
- During a tornado event, doors and windows in your home should remain closed in order to minimize the entry of wind into the building, which could cause building failures (walls forced outward, looking as those the building exploded).
- Flash floods generally occur within a short period of time after a rain event, generally within 6 hours or less.
- Flooding kills more people than just about any weather related event.
- It takes only 6 inches of fast flowing water to sweep you off your feet
- Water only 2 feet deep can float away most automobiles!
- Supercell thunderstorms can last for hours and is often unusually violent.
- Straight line winds in a thunderstorm can exceed 100 mph and can be as damaging as a tornado.
- Lightning can occur even when its not raining.
- Lightning causes an average of 93 deaths and 300 injuries in the US each year.
- The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000 degrees fahrenheit, which is hotter than the surface or the sun!
- The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100 watt light bulb for more than 3 months!
- Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far away as 10 miles from any rainfall.
- A persons chance of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 600,000, but can be greatly reduced by taking proper safety procedures and being indoors.
- Lightning victims carry NO electrical charge and should be attended to immediately. Elevating Your Floodprone House
Information courtesy of Ready.gov
Know what disasters and hazards could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts, and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate. Check out the related links to learn what to do before, during and after each type of emergency.
- Active Shooter
- Attacks in Public Places
- Chemical Emergencies
- Emergency Alerts
- Extreme Heat
- Hazardous Materials Incidents
- Home Fires
- Household Chemical Emergencies
- Landslides & Debris Flow
- Nuclear Explosion
- Nuclear Power Plants
- Power Outages
- Radiological Dispersion Device
- Severe Weather
- Snowstorms & Extreme Cold
- Space Weather
- Thunderstorms & Lightning
After The Disaster
Health & Safety
Immediately following a disaster, health & safety is the primary issue, which includes mental and physical well being.
Aid the injured by either administering first aid yourself, or by seeking medical attention for injured persons. Check for injuries, but unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury, try to avoid moving seriously injured persons.
Disasters are exhausting to deal with. Don't try to do too much, and make sure to set priorities and pace yourself. Getting enough rest is important to your physical and mental being. Make sure you eat well, drink plenty of water, wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and maintain personal hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly and often.
Disasters bring about many safety issues. It is important that you stay aware of new issues such as washed out roads, contaminated buildings & water, and utility leaks or outages.
Wild animals are the unforgotten victims of disasters, and can be very unpredictable. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself following a disaster:
- Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them
- Do not approach wild animals that may have taken refuge in your home. If you encounter wild animals, open a window, or provide other means of escape for the animal - they will likely leave on their own. Do not attempt to capture or handle wild animals. If you need assistance, contact local animal control or wildlife resource office.
- Do not handle dead animals, as they can present serious health risks.
- Beware of an increased number of snakes and other predators
- If you are bitten by an animal, seek medical attention immediately
Inform local authorities of any health and safety issues you may come across that you believe has not been attended to or noticed. These may include chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, dead animals etc.
Returning home can be very challenging for you. Ensure no matter what, you use extreme caution.
- Inspect your home carefully before entering. Walk around the outside of your carefully looking for loose power lines, utility leaks and other damage. If you are unsure about the safety of your home, have it inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
- Do not enter your home if you smell gas, have floodwaters around your home, or if your home was damaged by fire, and the authorities have declared it unsafe.
According to FEMA, other items to check inside your home include:
- Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
- Sparks, broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
- Roof, foundation and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
- Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
- Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
- Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
- Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
- Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.
- Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
- Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
Disaster Preparedness for Businesses
Every Business Should Have A Plan. Do You?
America's businesses are the backbone of the nation's economy, so having our businesses ready to survive and recover from disasters is essential to not only helping our economy and the nation recover faster, but to help support employees, customers, the local community, and the country as a whole.
Do you know what your business will do if you are faced with a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood or earthquake? How will you be able to continue running your business if there is a widespread serious illness and 90% of your employees are out? Do you have a back up for all of your records if your paper records, or electronic records are wiped out? How will your employees know what to do if you can't communicate with them the normal way?
There are five areas in developing a successful preparedness program:
For a preparedness program to be successful, there needs to be leadership, commitment and financial support. Without these, it would be very difficult to build the program and keep it up to date.
- Develop, organize and administer your program. Create a committee to provide input into the program; include different functional areas of expertise when picking your committee, such as finance, human resources, engineering, legal, information technology etc. You can even include external partners such as law enforcement, fire department, emergency managers; this would also open up lines of communication and develop relationships with these partners which may prove beneficial in emergencies.
- Identify any regulations that may establish minimum requirements for your preparedness program
- When developing your objectives for this program, consider including hazard prevention/deterrence, risk mitigation, emergency response, investing in resources and business continuity. Don't forget, objectives should be tangible and measurable.
- Include the following in your program:
- Preparedness policy
- Goals and objectives
- Program Scope
- Records management
There are many possible hazards that could affect your business, but it is hard to determine what ones will. This is why you should take an all hazards approach.
- Conduct a risk assessment. Know what hazards you may face, and assess the risks. Identify potential hazards, assess vulnerabilities and analyze potential impacts.
- Conduct a business impact analysis (helps you identify critical processes and financial and operational impacts from these disruptions).
- Examine ways to prevent and reduce risks. This could include a prevention program to help fires be prevented, spills be avoided and maintenance to keep machines from malfunctioning. This also includes creating mitigation strategies, or strategies that can reduce damage from a hazard. For example, you could install an emergency generator for critical equipment, or set up uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).
Implementation is a large piece of the preparedness program. This includes all of the following:
- Resource management (what will you need, and how will you get it)
- Emergency response (plans to protect life, property and the environment)
- Crisis communications (how will you communicate with your employees, customers, stakeholders, and the media)
- Business continuity (how will you continue to operate, how will you recover)
- Information technology systems (plans to recover electronic data, computer hardware and connectivity to support your critical processes)
- Employee assistance (create a plan to support employee and family preparedness, and how will you support your employees needs after an emergency)
- Incident management (who will be in charge or what, when. Define roles and responsibilities)
- Training (train all employees and stakeholders to do their assigned tasks and follow their defined roles)
Once you have your program set up and personnel trained, it is time to test and evaluate its effectiveness and to find any gaps in your plans. Personnel will feel more at ease if an emergency happens if they have tested the plans before the emergency strikes. Otherwise they will feel out of their comfort zone, and this is when mistakes and miscommunication can happen, causing potentially damaging results.
- Test and evaluate your plan on a regular basis with exercises. There are many different exercise types: workshops/seminars, tabletops, functional and full scale.
- Use your exercise results to evaluate your plan and program
- Identify how and when you will review your program. This may include conducting a critique after every incident, after quarterly exercises etc.
- Revise your plans accordingly based on your exercises and other critiques. Your revisions should address any gaps and deficiencies identified.
FEMA has an excellent Business Continuity Planning Suite you can download for free with wonderful tools and guides. Visit FEMA's website for more Business Preparedness tips and guides.
(Credit to our partners from the City of Nashville Office of Emergency Management for providing this wonderful information)
Don't let disasters catch you off guard on your vacation!
Here are a few tips to help keep you prepared during your vacation, either here in Surf City, or elsewhere:
- Pack a travel size emergency supply kit to include water, snacks, first aid kit, flashlight, travel size battery operated radio (will automatically switch to the weather radio station closest to your area), extra batteries and an emergency contact card with names and numbers. Don't forget to pack extra supplies that are critical to you and your family such as prescription medications, baby needs etc.
- Share your itinerary with your family and friends, and make sure they all know how to reach you.
- Make copies of your travel documents and keep electronic copies as backups.
- Make sure everyone traveling knows each others cell phone numbers, and other emergency contacts. Have a designated person our of the area to serve as the emergency contact in case you are unable to make local calls during an emergency.
- If traveling internationally, register with the US Dept of State STEP/Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This site allows you to enter information about your upcoming trips abroad and helps the Dept of State better assist you in an emergency.
- Check the forecast for where you are traveling to, and make sure to check the routes if you are traveling by car.
- Be aware of the names of the counties you are traveling to/through since weather warnings are normally issued by county.
- Familiarize yourself with your hotel's emergency plans or place you are staying.
- Familiarize yourself with the area's emergency notification systems.
- 9-1-1 is the emergency phone number for Police/Fire/EMS in Surf City and surrounding Pender and Onslow counties
- You can also call:
- 910-328-7711 – Non-emergency number for the Surf City Police Department
- 910-259-1515 - None-emergency number for the Pender County Sheriffs Office
- 910-328-0175 – Non-emergency number for Surf City Fire Department (Island Station)
- 910-329-1624 – Non-emergency number for Surf City Fire Department (Mainland Station)
- 910-328-4131 – Contact number for the Surf City Town Hall
When developing an emergency preparedness plan, remember to consider the needs of your family pets. Pets left behind can become injured, lost or ill. So plan for the day when you and your pets may have to leave home or become separated due to a disaster.
As this page mainly concentrates on you preparing for major emergencies, day to day events can be just as dangerous for your pets. If it is too hot or too cold outside for you, it is for your pets as well. During the extreme summer heat, please do not leave your pets in closed up vehicles or outside without adequate shelter and water; also know that if the concrete is too hot for your feet, it is too hot for their paws as well. During extreme cold, please do not leave your pets outdoors without adequate shelter, if possible, bring them indoors or in some sort of shelter away from the elements, with adequate food and non-frozen water.
Some provided shelters don't allow pets due to health and safety reasons. If you are planning on sheltering, please research before hand if your pet will be allowed to come with you. This information is usually made available on social media and news releases upon the opening of the shelter.
Here are some additional sheltering options to consider before a disaster strikes:
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets.
- Ask friends, relatives and others outside of your immediate area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Prepare a list of animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinarian offices that could shelter animals during an emergency, and include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Leave your pets at home alone only as a last resort, and then be sure to leave them enough food and water. Arrange to make the pets as comfortable as possible by giving them a safe, familiar place to stay and a familiar towel or blanket.
- Place stickers on the front and back of the house, barn and pasture entrances to notify neighbors and rescue workers that animals are on the property and where to find your pet disaster supply kit. Near your pet disaster supplies, post a list of the number, type and location of your animals, noting favorite hiding spots in order to save precious rescue time. Also, provide muzzles, handling gloves, catch nets and animal restraints where rescue workers can find them.
Pet Disaster Supply Kit
Assemble a portable pet disaster supply kit that includes:
- Medications, immunization records and a first aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, muzzles, harnesses, carriers or cages to transport pets safely.
- Current photos and descriptions of your pets, in case they get lost.
- Food and drinking water for at least three days for each pet, bowls, cat litter/pan and can opener.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and your veterinarian's contact information.
- Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
- Newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and household bleach
Before the Disaster
- Microchip your pet! Make sure your contact information is up to date with the microchip so you can be contacted if someone finds your pet.
- Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations. Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
- Have a current photograph of your pet, preferably with you in the photo.
- Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
- Have a properly sized pet carrier for each animal. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
- Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet. Potential refuges for your pet during a disaster include specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way.
- Learn about the AKC Companion Animal Recovery program.
Before and During the Disaster
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for your pet if possible.
- Make sure your pet disaster supplies are ready to take at a moment's notice.
- Bring all pets into the house, so you won't have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and up-to-date identification tags, and microchipped if possible.
After the Disaster
- Walk pets on a leash until they become reoriented to their home. Often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily become confused and lost.
- Downed power lines, high water and debris can all pose a threat for animals after a disaster.
- Remember, after a disaster, animals can become very scared, fearful, disoriented and even aggressive or defensive. So monitor their behavior.
- If pets cannot be found after a disaster, contact Pender County Animal Control at 910-259-1484 or Onslow County Animal Control at 910-455-0182 to find out where lost animals can be claimed.
Recovering Lost Pets
- If you microchipped your pet, this will make it much easier to recover your lost pet. A rescue shelter or pet clinic will scan your pet for a microchip and should be able to make contact with you with the information on file with the chip
- Post you pet's information on Web sites that are designed to help reunite lost pets with their owners. For more information, visit Lost Pet Finders. Social media is also a helpful tool in locating a lost pet.
- Other places to check for lost pets are the newspaper classified ads and bulletin boards at veterinarian offices.
- Remember, lost pet ads are a potential haven for con artists. So if you have posted a lost pet ad or bulletin offering reward money, never offer payment over the phone or without a person-to-person exchange of the reward money for your pet. Always arrange a reunion point in a well-lit, public place and ask a friend to go along.
Consider leaving exotic pets such as reptiles, parrots and ferrets with friends or relatives who are safely out of harm's way. Exotic pets usually require specialized care and feeding, and are more sensitive to environmental changes than dogs or cats.
Some animal control officials say cows and horses are better off in a pasture. Others recommend sheltering livestock in a stable, barn or shed. You should decide now which avenue you will take.
Other Related Animal Safety Links
These sites contain information that could help you protect family and exotic pets, livestock and other animals when a disaster strikes: