February 2020

A big thanks to everyone who attended our February 2020 CERT meeting on victim transport. You can view the regular presentation here and the victim transport class here.

Please remember to put the March 25 meeting on your calendar, where we will be talking about survival food preparation.

If you would like to attend the next CERT Basic Course in Chatham County, you can register here.

As always, remember that we need to be prepared so we can take care of ourselves and assist our households, our neighborhoods, and our communities in a disaster.

January 2020

CERT Update 
A big thanks to everyone who was able to attend our first Chatham CERT meeting on Wednesday evening. Slides from the meeting are located here. Special thanks to Colby Sawyer from the Chatham Emergency Management Office who discussed emergency operations.

CERT Basic Class 
Our first CERT basic class for 2020 will be held March 21 and 22 (Sat and Sun) at the community college in Pittsboro. If you would like to attend, please sign up on TERMS at https://terms.ncem.org/TRS/courseDesc.do?sourcePage=courseSearch&cofId=124309. Chatham residents will receive priority until a couple weeks before the class. Class size is limited to 30 students.

Here is the CERT 2020 planned schedule.
Meetings will be at 6pm the Chatham Emergency Operations Center unless noted. 
Feb 26: victim response, transport (exercise)
Mar 21-22: CERT Basic Course (all-day Sat and Sun at the Chatham Ag and Conference Center)
Mar 25: Food safety, storage, prep
Apr 22: Flood response, windshield survey
May 27: Blocking & Cribbing (exercise)
Jun 24: First Aid, CPR, AED (exercise)
Jul 22: SkyWarn (6pm at the Chatham Library Holmes Room)
Aug 26: Hurricane Prep
Sep 23: Long-term disasters
Oct 24 (Saturday morning): Communications (using the FEMA comms course)
November: we are planning on a basic-level (technician) ham radio operators course 

If you would like to sign up for our email list, please enter your email in the block below.

Stay safe!

FEMA Presentation

Thanks to everyone who attended the September Chatham CERT meeting with guest speaker David Musick.

You can view a copy of his presentation here.

Here is some additional information from David Musick:

Duplin County approved for nearly $2 million for hurricane preparedness

DUPLIN COUNTY, NC (WITN) The State of North Carolina and FEMA are awarding more than $1.8 million to eliminate flood risks at certain repetitively damaged properties in Duplin County following Hurricane Florence.  The funds will acquire 17 residential structures in Duplin County to convert them to open spaces and conserve natural floodplain functions. Natural floodplains help to minimize disaster-related property damage and expenses because they slow runoff, absorb floodwaters and control erosion.  FEMA reimburses 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. FEMA’s share for these projects is more than $1.3 million and the state’s share is approximately $460,000.  The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to local governments.  FEMA previously approved $23 million to acquire 155 other flood-prone properties in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence.  The agency provides funding for property acquisitions through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. HMGP funding encourages states and local governments by funding projects to help communities eliminate or reduce disaster-related damage.

Atlantic Beach to receive $8 million dollars to fund beach sand project

ATLANTIC BEACH, Carteret County — If all goes as planned, Bogue Banks beaches will be back to their pre-Florence condition, by spring, at no cost to the Town of Atlantic Beach.  Carteret County Commissioners have approved $28.2 million for a beach nourish project which includes $8 million to place sand on 2.7 miles of the town’s beachfront from the Circle to the Pine Knoll Shores town limits.  Most of that money comes from the county’s beach nourishment fund, which receives half of the revenue from the county’s occupancy tax. Officials say the rest of the funds are from other federal and state funding sources.

Mayor Trace Cooper, III says, “We have been planning a large beach nourishment project for the west side of Atlantic Beach. Now, thanks to help from Carteret County’s Beach Fund and the State of North Carolina, we will be able to put sand on these beaches with no cost to the Town of Atlantic Beach. This project will rebuild dunes lost during Hurricane Florence and extend the flat part of the beach. This will provide protection for homes and room to play on the sand for years to come. We are particularly grateful for the efforts of Representative Pat McElraft in the NC General Assembly to secure the state’s portion of this funding.”  The General Assembly allocated $18 million to help local governments pay for Florence-related beach projects last year and of that, Carteret County got more than $15 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it had approved $18 million in federal and state sand replacement funds for the island.

Hurricane Florence proved to be one of the most substantial storms on record and officials say Beaufort recorded a storm surge of 5.1 feet above sea level and Emerald Isle recorded a peak surge of 10.1 feet. Fortunately for Atlantic Beach, officials say the highest recorded storm surge was 3.75 feet above sea level with no flood damage to oceanfront structures, nor any breaches of the frontal dune and beachfront structural damage was limited to walkways only with no significant damage to the structural integrity of homes. The annual erosion rate along Bogue Banks is about 2 to 3 cubic yards per linear foot but Hurricane Irene in 2011 increased that number to 12 cubic yards and during Hurricane Florence officials recorded 40 cubic yards of erosion. The beach commission estimated that Atlantic Beach lost more than 400,000 cubic yards of sand during Hurricane Florence and up to 21 feet of beach frontage. The project is scheduled to begin in Atlantic Beach in January, move west along Bogue Banks, and be completed by mid-February. Following that officials say the seeding of sea oats will take place.

The new sand may cover the previous installation of homeowners private steps installed oceanward of their property line and officials say step replacement will be at the homeowner’s expense and must be completed according to state CAMA guidelines. The area from the Circle to the Pine Knoll Shores Town limit last received the placement of sand in 1994 and officials say the east side beach strand, from the Circle to Fort Macon State Park, receives the placement of sand from the routine dredging of the Morehead City port channel, which was last re-nourished in 2017.

Fearrington smoky mulch fire

An ALERTChatham / CodeRed notification for smoke in the southeast corner of Fearrington Village was just sent (September 15, 2019) from the Chatham County EOC. Agencies are coordinating the fire management, but it may continue to burn. Here are facts around this:

1.       The mulch fire is contained (NOT spreading) but will likely not be extinguished for some time.

2.       This type of fire is not easily or quickly extinguished.  There is a lot of “fuel” for a fire in a mulch pile.

3.       The smell of smoke tends to worsen at night as the atmosphere cools and the smoke sinks.  It doesn’t mean it’s getting worse, it is likely the same amount of smoke just closer to the ground.

4.       Elevated levels of smoke can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with respiratory problems and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals.  This is a LOW-LEVEL smoke incident, but still may cause irritation for residents.  If affected, they should limit prolonged outdoor activities while these conditions remain.

5.       If someone is having symptoms suggesting lung or heart problems, they should consult their health care provider as soon as possible.

6.       Residents should consider running your central air conditioning system in your home … and if equipped, set it to re-circulate or close outdoor air intakes to avoid drawing in smoky outdoor air.

7.       Fitch Creations (Fearrington HOA) is posting updates to their website at fearringtonfha.org .

Hurricane Checklist

Thanks to everyone who attended the Hurricane and Power Outage CERT meeting on August 28. With Hurricane Dorian forming and strengthening, now is the time to start thinking about preparations to ride out this storm and any more that might come our way this year.

Here is the Checklist for pre-, during, and post-hurricane actions and when power is out.

Remember, if we are hit by a hurricane, take care of yourselves, your family and your neighbors. CERT members don’t self-deploy – wait for a notification that CERT volunteer support has been officially requested.

Firefighter Exercise

A BIG THANKS to the twelve CERT and AuxComm members who participated in the Chatham County Firefighter Exercise on August 17th.

From the Chatham County Fire Chief:

“I wanted to pass on a huge Thanks to each of you and your personnel. Today will go down as a milestone in Chatham County Emergency Services. We have never completed a county wide water shuttle for Office of State Fire Marshal. I know all of you were hot and tired when finished. We could not have pulled today off without your participation. The were 115 personnel on the training roster and 150 personnel fed, so a few missed the roster. No injuries, no damaged equipment, and all of your tremendous willingness to help. This is saying alot, we were filling appratus at 1250 gallons a minute, moved over 418000 gallons of water in 3 1/2 hours, with 43 tankers. All of you were key players.
Please pass on to your staff and CERT for the help and making today a success.

Assembling at 7:30 AM
Transferring water between tankers
Water Cannons

CERT July 2019

What does a county citizen do if they suspect a law enforcement officer needs assistance?

That was the July 2019 topic presented by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

In a nutshell:
– Call 9-1-1 first! The officer may not have been able to notify his unit, and calling 911 will never hurt the situation.
– Do not take action unless the officer knows you are there, that you are a ‘good guy’, and the officer requests help.
– Don’t startle the officer – make sure they are aware of your presence.
– If you are a concealed handgun permit holder, DON’T draw your firearm unless asked to do so by the officer.
– Sometimes just being an extra set of eyes and ears is all that is needed.

If you come across an officer in their vehicle and they are unresponsive (perhaps due to a medical emergency) grab the vehicle’s radio microphone and call for help!

CERT April 2019

Thanks to everyone who attended our April 24 CERT meeting. We had a great presentation on Wildfire in North Carolina, presented by Justin Query from the North Carolina Forestry Service. You can see his presentation here. Justin also provided a document on how to evaluate your own home’s risk for wildfire damage, and a handout on preparing your home for wildfires.

Many of our CERT members have expressed an interest in Search and Rescue. We are working with the Chatham County Emergency Management office and the Sheriff’s office to build a training program that inserts CERT members into good roles during a search. Some of you may be interested in admin support, others in logistical support, and still others (once trained) would work directly on search teams. Hold the date for an all-day training session on Search and Rescue planned for October 5, 2019 at Jordan Lake.

And BIG NEWS – Chatham CERT has received our 501(c)3 non-profit letter from the IRS! We can now accept donations and can apply for grants. More to follow. (Thanks, Maura!)

CERT March 2019

Thanks to everyone who attended our March 2019 CERT meeting. This month we reviewed the past year (our start-up year!) and discussed meeting topics for the future. From those who attended, here are the top most wished for classes. We will work on getting these scheduled throughout the next year.

  • Search and Rescue
  • CPR & AED training
  • Traffic and Crowd Management
  • Dealing with long-term power outages
  • First Aid certification
  • Land Nav & Compass Reading
  • Food safety, storage, disaster food preparation

We also reviewed gear – what one might carry in their trunk or vehicle as a ‘get-home’ bag for emergencies. You can view that presentation here.

Our April meeting features the North Carolina Forestry Service in a presentation on Wildfire Prevention and Safety around our homes. That will be particularly timely given all the problems we have seen on the west coast with out-of-control fires. We don’t want that here in Chatham County. See you on April 24th at our monthly meeting.