Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry is using the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Floyd to encourage North Carolina families, businesses and schools to take steps to prepare themselves for all types of emergencies. While many recall the devastating flooding that followed Hurricane Floyd, the current flooding in Colorado shows that it does not take a hurricane or tropical storm to cause major damage. Secretary Perry urges every family to have both an emergency plan and kit.
“The devastating Colorado floods are a somber reminder of the destruction that two thirds of our state endured following Hurricane Floyd,” Perry said. “In North Carolina, we typically associate major flooding with hurricanes or tropical storms, but the floods we’ve experienced this summer in the western part of the state weren’t caused by any tropical system. For me, that’s a serious reminder that we need to be ever ready for any disaster.”
In the past four months, near-record rainfall in Western North Carolina and severe thunder storms produced extensive flooding in only a few short hours in more than a dozen counties. State estimates indicate more than 400 homes and businesses were destroyed or incurred significant damage.
But flooding is not the only type weather event that North Carolinians have had to deal with, Perry said. Last year alone, the state experienced 23 tornadoes, 865 severe thunderstorms, 385 hail storms where the hail was at least one inch, and 40 incidents of flash flooding.
Gov. McCrory proclaimed September as Emergency Preparedness Month which coincides with National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The designation is made each September to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies.
From the mountains to the coast and everywhere in between, Secretary Perry urges all levels of the community to be prepared. He said the easiest, most economical way people can protect their families and businesses is to plan ahead, gather those supplies and discuss their emergency plans. Those people who are better prepared will fare better during the disaster and recover more quickly, he said.
Additionally, Perry encourages cities, counties and state agencies should routinely test and exercise their response plans.
“Whether it is a flash flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, snow storm or even chemical spill, it is vital that all North Carolinians know what to do when danger threatens,” Perry said
A variety of information about planning for disasters of any kind is available at www.readync.org. Emergency preparedness information is available in Spanish at www.listonc.org. For updates on disasters that impact the state, follow N.C. Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter.
Hurricane Floyd remains the state’s most devastating and expensive disaster. Fifty-two deaths were attributed to the storm that submerged 30 downtown areas, damaged 67,000 homes and 60,000 businesses, disabled dozens of water and sewer systems, breached 40 dams, knocked out power to 1.2 million homes and closed 1,500 roads and 23 airports. Estimated damages totaled $6 billion.
“As a state, we are better prepared for disasters than we were 14 years ago,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of Emergency Management. “We have more comprehensive plans, additional equipment and extensive, coordinated resources. Ultimately, though, how well you fare in disaster will be influenced by how well you prepared before hand.”