Recent Community Posts

Hurricane Hazards

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. Hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) include storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.

  • Extreme Winds
  • Storm Surge
  • Inland Flooding
  • Tornadoes

Extreme Winds

Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.

 

Storm Surge

Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.

  

Inland Flooding

Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.

  

Tornadoes

Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.

 

Importance of CPR Knowledge

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Why is CPR training important?

CPR training is important. It can save your life, your children’s lives, your parents' lives, or even a stranger’s life. Getting trained is easily accessible to anyone who wants it and not hard to complete. Learning the basics can be empowering, and it is something you will remember throughout your lifetime.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, is a life-saving technique that helps maintain blood flow to the brain and heart in an emergency situation. Knowing CPR is a requirement for some professions such as lifeguard, child care provider, and health care assistant. Here are a few reasons why CPR training is so crucial.

CPR is life saving

If you are ever in an emergency situation, the first step is to always call 911. But in some cases those few minutes spent waiting on a medical professional are precious. If you are certified in CPR, you will be able to confidently and effectively apply these skills to help aid the victim until the first responders arrive and can take over.

CPR is not performed enough

Recent studies suggest that less than half of those who suffer from cardiac arrest receive any type of CPR assistance from a bystander. When these types of situations arise, the common response is that no bystander was certified in CPR or that there was an aspect of fear involved, causing those around to hesitate in administering these critical skills. Taking a CPR course will alleviate any fear you may have in administering proper CPR techniques should an emergency occur.

CPR is empowering

Not all emergency situations requiring CPR occur in a public forum. Almost 85 percent of all cardiac arrests take place in the home.

Spouses, children, and parents alike should consider taking even the most basic CPR certification course in preparation for any dire situation. We all know children under the age of five are known to get into quite a bit of mischief. Should your child become unresponsive due to his own curiosities, you will feel confident in knowing there is something you can do until professional medical help arrives.

The same rule applies if your husband, father, wife, or mother appears unresponsive while in your home. Knowing proper CPR will give you the courage and assuredness you may need to take swift, and potentially life-saving, action.

CPR is better in numbers

Should an emergency situation arise while you are in a restaurant, crowded shopping mall, or grocery store, having more than one person who is adequately trained in CPR can be beneficial. Depending on how long it takes for an ambulance to arrive, a single person performing CPR could grow tired or frustrated. This is where a second CPR trainee could step in and relieve the first person of his or her duties. They could then trade off applying their CPR skills until help arrives.

CPR is a work skill

As already mentioned, CPR licensure is required for some occupations. While many job descriptions do not call for their applicants to be professionally trained in CPR, those certifications are certainly useful and valued in any workplace. Being certified in CPR may set your resume apart from the crowd and ultimately earn you an interview with a potential employer.

Wildfire Disasters

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

Wildfires

More and more people are making their homes in or near forests, rural areas or out-of-the-way mountain sites. There, homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of a wildfire.

Every year across the United States, some homes survive and others do not after a major wildfire. Those that make it almost always do so because their owners had gotten ready for the possibility of fire. Fires cannot be escaped in wildland areas that are likely to have them. Said in another way - if it's predictable, it's preventable!

Wildfires often begin without being seen. These fires are usually triggered by lightning or accidents. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. Lower your risk by getting ready now before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. Follow the steps listed below to protect your family, home and property.

Tornado Disasters

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

Tornadoes

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They are formed from powerful thunderstorms. Tornadoes show up as spinning, funnel-shaped clouds that reach from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long.

In North Carolina, tornadoes can occur with little or no warning at any time during the year. The peak season, however, is March through May.

Sometimes, tornadoes develop so quickly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A cloud of debris can mark the place of a tornado even if a funnel is not seen. Tornadoes occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

If you see a tornado coming, you only have a short time to make life-or-death choices. Know the basics of tornado safety. Plan ahead. Hold an annual tornado drill. Doing these will lower the chance of injury or death if a tornado strikes your area.

Know the Terms and Danger Signs

  • Watch – conditions are right for tornado formation.
  • Warning – a tornado has actually been sighted.

Danger signs

  • If there is a watch or warning posted, falling hail should be thought to be a real danger sign.
  • A cloud of debris can mark the place of a tornado, even if you cannot see a funnel.
  • Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still.
  • Tornadoes occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm. It is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

Give Thanks to First Responders

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

Write a letter

Receiving a letter in this day and age is rare. However, handwritten letters are one of the most genuine ways to show someone how much you care and appreciate them. Write a letter (or a few) and deliver them to your local fire station. You’ll initiate a smile from a first responder for sure.

Spread the Word

If a first responder completely rocked your world, tell people about it. Tell your coworkers, local businesses, friends, family, everyone. It may not be a direct thanks, but gratitude can always be shown indirectly as well.

Donate to a charity that benefits first responders and fire departments.

They may have given you or someone you know a second chance at life. Why not give back? Check out your community’s fire department web page and learn more about their needs and how you can help.

Cook and deliver a meal.

Due to an unpredictable schedule, first responders often skip meals in order to perform their duties. Show your local heroes that you care by dropping off a home-cooked meal at the station!

Decorate a Banner

Homemade art projects are about as genuine as you can get. Gather up your family and neighbors and paint a heartfelt “thank you” banner. After the paint has dried, surprise your community first responders with a lovely gift of appreciation!

Attend an event where you know they will be present.

First responders are not always the center of attention at events, but you’ll be surprised how many they go to in order to keep you and your family safe. For example, they are at any major public event such as parades, concerts, sporting events, or festivals. Find one next time and offer them a cold soda or water. Express your gratitude by lending a helping hand.  

Thank them on social media.

Most Americans have a couple hundred friends/followers on their social media accounts. If you write a post simply stating how thankful are for their service, that message could go farther than you think. In addition, some of your friends may jump on that same bandwagon and thank them on their accounts as well.

Simply say “thank you”.

If you become more aware of your surroundings every time you’re out in public, you’ll start noticing how many first responders are nearby. When you see one while you are out, walk up and simply tell them how much you appreciate them. A few seconds of kindness goes far.

Know Your Flood Risk

9/6/2019 (Permalink)

8/13/2019

Floods

Floods are one of the most common dangers in the United States. Floods can occur at any time of the year and just about anywhere in North Carolina. They may be caused by large amounts of rain, hurricanes or dam failures.

Eastern North Carolina had a very bad, record-setting 500-year flood caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Sixty-six of the state’s 100 counties were stated to be disaster areas. North Carolinians living in the mountains had terrible floods in 2004 caused by the leftovers of two hurricanes. Flash floods in the mountains can move very fast, causing landslides, uprooting trees, rolling boulders, and destroying buildings and bridges.

Flooding is dangerous whether you are in your home, driving or on foot. Just a few inches of water can knock you off your feet or sweep your car away. Never drive through flooded roadways. Stay away from swollen streams and rivers.

Be aware that most insurance policies do not include flood damage. Think about buying a separate flood insurance policy. Go to www.ncfloodmaps.com to find out if you are in a flood zone.

Extreme Heat Risks

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

Extreme Heat

Heat can kill people because it pushes the human body past what it can handle. In extreme heat and high humidity, water evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to keep a normal temperature.

Most heat problems occur because the person has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to give in to extreme heat.

Conditions that can bring on heat-related illnesses include still atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. People who live cities may be at greater risk from the effects of a long heat wave than those living in rural areas. Asphalt and concrete store heat longer and slowly release heat at night. This can make temperatures rise at night in a city, called the "urban heat island effect."

A heat wave is a long time of extreme heat. It is often with high humidity. These conditions can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don’t do what they ought to do to keep themselves safe.

Drought Disasters

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

Drought

Drought has happened in every part of the state in recent years. Some areas had very dry conditions. Others had mild drought conditions. Droughts can last for months or years. You can use easy water saving ways to keep water from being used up.

These easy tips can help save water all the time.

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Fix dripping faucets. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.
  • Check plumbing for leaks. Get a plumber to fix any leaks.
  • Put in aerators with flow restrictors on all faucets.
  • Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.
  • Install a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
  • Put a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the toilet tank to shift water. Do not use a brick; it may melt and cause problems inside the toilet. Be sure that putting the gallon jug in place does not get in the way of the working parts.
  • Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
  • Compost food scraps or throw them in the garbage. (Garbage disposals use a lot of water.)

Indoor Tips

Kitchen

  • Wash dishes by hand to save water. Just do not leave the water running for rinsing. Use a second sink or tub filled with rinse water, and then use that water to flush toilets. You could spray cleaned dishes with short blasts of water. This will saves 200 to 500 gallons a month.
  • Use the smallest amount of washing soap as you can. This lowers the amount of rinse water needed. Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  • Don't rinse dirty dishes before loading into dishwater. Scrape dirty dishes clean. Then, let the machine do the rest.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Use the “water-saver” setting if there is one. Saves up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Use only one glass for your drinking water each day. It will lower the use of the dishwasher.
  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge, instead of running tap water until it is cold
  • Drink water instead of soft drinks, tea, coffee or alcohol. Your body better uses water.
  • Don't thaw frozen food under running water. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
  • Use water in which you boiled food (if not saving for soup) to water plants.
  • Check for leaks – both indoors and out. Fix any leaks. Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons each month. A dripping faucet can waste 3,600 gallons a year.

Bathroom

  • Take faster showers (5 minutes or less). Shower enough to get wet, turn off water and soap up, and then turn on the water to rinse.
  • Collect tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden, or to flush your toilet. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  • Turn off the water while shaving or brushing teeth. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves 3 gallons each day.
  • Check for leaks by dropping a small amount of food coloring in the upper tank. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak
  • Put in faucet aerators and or water-saving showerheads. Faucet aerators increase spray velocity and lower splash.
  • Don't use your toilet as a wastebasket.

Laundry

  • Use front-load washing machines. A front-load uses up to 60 percent less water and up to 68 percent less energy than top-loading machines. This means they save on power too!
  • Run only full loads in the washing machine. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.

Outdoor Tips

  • Limit car washing. When you wash your car, use a bucket and hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle. You can use commercial car wash that recycles water too.
  • Check for and fix leaky garden taps, hose connections and sprinkler valves.
  • Collect natural water with a rain barrel for car washing or lawn and garden watering.
  • Add compost and other organic matter to your soil to make it more able to hold water. Choose plants that do not need a lot of water.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. Water in the early morning or late evening to stop water from evaporating. Watering your lawn in short cycles is better than one long cycle.
  • Put sprinklers so that they do not water pavement. Change your sprinklers, so that water lands on your lawn or garden—not the sidewalk. Saves 500 gallons per month.
  • Do not water on windy days. There's too much evaporation. Can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering
  • Water slowly, carefully, and as rarely as you can to have deep roots and healthy plants.
  • Hold your garden hose close to the roots of plants so that there's little waste and evaporative loss.
  • Mulch all plant beds to reduce water evaporation, weeds and soil temperature.
  • Use rinse water from the house to water plants in or near the house.
  • Use a broom, not a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, deck or patio.
  • Put rain gutters in. Collect water from downspouts also helps lower water use. Add a drip irrigation system for shrubs, vegetable gardens, flower beds or pots. This saves us to 50 percent in outside water use. It's easy, cheap and a good way to save water.
  • Trickle irrigation and drip irrigation systems help lower water use. This way to water meets the needs of plants. These ways mean very small amounts of water are given to the base of the plants. Since the water is applied directly to the soil, rather than onto the plant, evaporation from leaf surfaces is lowered.
  • Don't mow too low. Keep lawns two to three inches high to stop them from drying out too fast. Taller grass means less water evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.
  • Cover your swimming pool to stop evaporative loss. Delay any pool repairs that are not needed if they mean you need to drain and refill your pool.

Earthquake Disaster

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

Earthquake

An earthquake is the sudden, quick shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and moving of underground rock.

Earthquakes are followed by aftershocks. Some aftershock may be as strong as the original quake. Sometimes, aftershock can go on for hours, days or week.

Major earthquakes do not happen very often in North Carolina. Smaller earthquakes have been known to happen in the state. The 2011 East Coast earthquake reminded North Carolinians that earthquakes in other states can cause problems in our state.

You need to know what to do if an earthquake occurs at or near your home, workplace, or while you're driving. At first, you would hear a low rumbling noise followed by the shaking. It could start softly and grow more violent. You could be hit by a quick jolt. Most wounds are from falling objects and trash. Stay calm. Follow three simple steps.

1. DROP – Get down on the floor when shaking starts before the quake drops you.

2. COVER - Take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If you cannot find something to get under, crouch against an inside wall. Keep your head and neck safe by using your arms. Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors or anything that might fall over.

3. HOLD ON – Hold on to a desk, table or piece of furniture. Be ready to move with it during the quake.

Before an Earthquake

Follow the steps below to keep you, your family and property safe in an earthquake.

  • Fasten shelves securely to walls.
  • Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
  • Fasten heavy items such as pictures and mirrors firmly to walls. Do not put them near beds, couches or anywhere people sit.
  • Support overhead light fixtures and top-heavy objects.
  • Fix out of order electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. They can cause a fire. Get the right people to help fix problems. Do not work with gas or electrical lines yourself.
  • Fix any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert help if there are signs of structural problems.
  • Put weed killers, pesticides, and products that can cause a fire in closed cabinets on bottom shelves. Lock these things up.
  • Find safe spots in each room under a sturdy table or against an inside wall. Tell everyone in the house about these places. Run through where to go.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover and hold on
  • During an Earthquake

    Indoors

    • Think of the three things to do: DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped.
    • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall such as light fixtures or furniture.
    • Stay away from doorways unless you know it is a load-bearing doorway and is close to you.
    • In the Kitchen: Move away from the refrigerator, stove and overhead cupboards.
    • In High-Rise Buildings: Stay near an inside wall. Do not use the elevators.
    • In a stadium or theater: Stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. DO NOT try to leave until the shaking is over.

    Outdoors

    • Move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings or downed electrical wires and poles.
    • On the Street: Duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and other debris.
    • In the Car: Pull over to the side of the road and stop. Stay away from overpasses, power lines and other dangers. STAY INSIDE THE VEHICLE UNTIL THE SHAKING IS OVER.
    • In a Store: Do not run for the exits. STAY CALM. Move away from anything that might fall.
    • In the Mountains: Watch out for falling rock, landslides, trees and other debris that could be loosened by quakes.

After the earthquake

An earthquake might only last a few seconds. Aftershocks can be as strong as the earthquake. They may occur for days or weeks after the shaking begins.

  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Help hurt or trapped people. Give first aid when it is needed. Do not move badly hurt people unless they are in danger of getting hurt again. Call for help.
  • Look for and put out small fires. Fire is the most common danger after an earthquake.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Do not go into buildings with damage or those that have fallen down.
  • Stay away from electrical wiring, both indoors and out.
  • Be aware of possible tsunamis in coastal areas. When local authorities give a tsunami warning, assume that a series of dangerous waves is on the way. Stay away from the beach.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Be careful when driving. Traffic light may not be working.
  • Check your home for signs of structural damage. Check the full length of chimneys for damage. Unseen damage could cause a fire.
  • Check your gas, water, power.
    • Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve. Call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas, a trained person must turn it back on.
    • Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the power at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Call an electrician first for help if you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
    • Check for sewage and water lines damage. If you suspect sewage lines are not working, stay away from using the toilets. Call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, call the water company. Do not use water from the tap.