Emergency coordinators explain how to prepare for hurricanes

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) — Many people in East Carolina know it’s important to have gear ready in the event of a hurricane, but they’re not the only ones who need to prepare.

Health officials spend countless hours saving lives as neighborhoods and communities are devastated. WITN spoke to them on Tuesday about how they are preparing to spring into immediate action.

“What we can do is really something very special and unique: making sure that people in our community always have an opportunity to access medical care,” said Stephanie Seals, ECU Health’s Disaster Services Specialist.

When you need it most, ECU Health First Responders like them are waiting for your call.

“As hurricane season comes, we try to fill in our gaps, and in doing so we try to review our plans, how much fuel, water, food … our communications systems and our infrastructure,” Chris Starbuck, Eastern Healthcare Preparedness’s coalition coordinator for preparing for healthcare said.

As we navigate the peak of hurricane season and approach two active disruptions, Starbuck coordinators want the public to know about the assistance they can offer, such as their mass evacuation bus and the mobile field hospital where Seals has worked during past storms.

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

“My biggest encouragement to everyone is to just start small. You can buy little things every month, go to the Dollar Tree, the dollar store, and buy a few things every month to start building this kit. You don’t have to buy everything at once because it can be a bit pricey,” Seals said.

Although there is an upfront cost, it’s definitely worth feeling prepared.

Hurricanes aren’t the only disasters you need emergency kits for. Events such as infrastructure and supply chain backups are also possible.

Visit ReadyNC.gov for a complete list of what is included in your own kit.

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