Special Report on Hurricane Florence – Sept. 17, 2018
Although all meetings were cancelled in Raleigh during the past week as Hurricane Florence made her way through North Carolina, the communications among elected officials at every level has never been more urgent. We had daily and hourly phone calls and texts among every concerned official and emergency management leader.
I had one or two conference calls daily with Brunswick Emergency Management. The county staff, county commissioners, municipal mayors, state Representative and state Senator were on the call as we got updates on preparations and conditions around the county. We were able to ask questions and offer assistance in communicating with state agencies. These will likely continue until the flooding and infrastructure issues are back to normal.
The state has had all legislators on at least one conference call daily. We are briefed by the Secretary of Transportation (NCDOT), Secretary of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Assistant Director of Emergency Services of the Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), and the Governor’s office. We are updated on major road closures, shelter and medical assets, and localized issues. I have been able to assist as some of our local needs have arisen.
Other calls and texts have flooded in to my phone and Senator Rabon’s as the needs have arisen across the county and in our towns. We have been able to put some of our folks in touch with agencies to assist them or to attempt to speed up needed services. The needs are expected to increase this week as people are stranded by flood waters and time passes with necessary supplies running low.
Communication with leaders across the county, our towns, and state have never been more urgent and timely as now. The county Emergency Operations Center and the NC Emergency Operations Center have done an excellent job of uniting all possible forces to alleviate the problems as much as possible. Thanks to all these dedicated public servants, and the leaders of our towns for all they do for the safety and comfort of our people in Brunswick County and North Carolina.
Please follow your local officials’ advice and watch out for your safety and that of your neighbors. We will get through this and come out even stronger.