According to the Carteret County Hazard Mitigation Plan, Carteret County is vulnerable to the following hazards:
- Drought/Extreme Heat
- Winter Storms/Freezes
- Severe Storms/Tornadoes
- Storm Surge
- Coastal Erosion
- Hazardous Materials
Some of these threats are more likely than others to occur in Carteret County.
As you can see, emergencies come in many forms. Some emergencies have a few days’ notice (i.e. Hurricane) and some occur without warning (i.e. Hazardous Material spill). Public Health emergencies can occur at any time without warning. Public Health emergencies can occur as a result of a natural disaster (i.e. 2011 earthquake/radiation emergency in Japan) or can occur on its own (i.e. pandemic influenza – H1N1).
Examples of public health emergencies include:
- Chemical spill/explosion
- Communicable Disease outbreak
- Pandemic Influenza (i.e. H1N1)
- Foodborne Illness
- Radiation incidents
Although these are examples of public health emergencies, the Health Department plans for all types of emergencies and disasters. Health Department planning efforts focus on the public health, medical and mental health needs after a disaster or emergency. To ensure consistency, the Health Department works with local and state first responders (i.e. State Public Health, local Emergency Management, Fire/EMS, Law Enforcement, Hospitals, etc.) and private organizations in plan development.
The Carteret County Health Department has developed plans, policies and procedures for how we should protect individuals after emergencies and disasters in our County. Planning for any emergency requires considering scenarios that could disrupt daily activities, electricity, water and transportation and threaten the health of citizens. This "Guide to Public Health Emergency/Disaster Preparedness & Response" offers a wide variety of information and resources to help you successfully plan for most emergencies and keep you as safe and healthy as possible.
Disaster Preparedness Tips
Before a Disaster!
- Prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days
- Conduct practice drills so you and your family know the pre determined locations to meet in case you get separated.
- Choose an out of state friend or relative that separated family members can call to report their whereabouts and conditions.
- Learn first aid and CPR from your local Red Cross chapter or other community organizations
- Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in your home in case the lines are damaged.
- Make sure insurance coverage is up to date and reflects present property values.
- Compile an inventory of home contents. Take pictures or videos. Store in a safe place or send copies to a relative.
- Secure your water heater and major appliances, as well as tall, heavy furniture, hanging plants, picture frames and mirrors.
- Help organize your neighborhood to be self-sufficient after a disaster.
- Participate in any Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training in your county.
Prepare a Basic Emergency Kit
In preparation for any emergency, it is important for you and your family to have a basic emergency kit that includes:
- Water – one gallon per person per day for two weeks
- Food – a two week supply of non-perishable food like canned soups and meats
- Battery operated radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Cell Phone
- First aid kit
- A whistle to signal for help
- Liquid hand sanitizer
- Plain, unscented household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper
- Prescription medications: Take your prescription bottles with you if you must leave your home. In emergencies, any pharmacist can give you a three-day emergency supply of prescribed medications.
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents like insurance policies, identification/bank records and telephone numbers for your doctors and other important contacts
- Sleeping bags or blankets for each family member
- Change of clothing including shoes
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Personal hygiene items
- Paper plates, plastic eating utensils
- Paper towels
- Paper and pencils
- Books and games for adults and kids
www.ready.gov: This site has many good tips and useful information for all family members.
http://www.carteretcountygov.org/emergencyservices.aspx: This site lists flood tips/hurricane information, Special Needs Registry, DeltAlert, Emergency Evacuation Pet Friendly Hotels, and Companion Shelter Pre-Registration Forms.
Special Needs Registry
Carteret County Emergency Services maintains a voluntary, confidential special needs registry for County residents. This registry is designed to identify citizens who need help evacuating the County or need medical assistance before, during or after a disaster or emergency. In the event of a disaster or emergency, emergency response personnel will contact each individual listed in the registry.
The Special Needs Registry form can be found by accessing: http://carteretcountygov.org/pdfs/ems/SpecialNeedsRegistry.pdf
This form can be completed and mailed back to:
Carteret County Emergency Management
303 Courthouse Square
Beaufort, NC 28516
Please share with family and friends living in Carteret County!
Weather Related Emergencies
As a Coastal County, hurricanes are our main concern in terms of weather related emergencies. The following information lists the ways in which you can prevent "Health Risks after the Storm".
Prevent Illness From FOOD
- Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with dirty water from floods or tidal surges
- Do not eat from cans that are bulging or opened. Cans that are not opened can be saved if you remove the labels and then disinfect them by using ¼ cup of bleach in a one gallon of clean water. Assume that home-canned foods are unsafe and throw them out.
- Refrigerators and freezers that have been without power since the storm should be cleaned out. Perishables are unsafe for eating.
Prevent Illness From WATER
- Effects of a hurricane can increase the risk of contaminated drinking water. If your private well was flooded, use bottled or boiled water until you know your water is safe to drink. If your private drinking water well was flooded, call the Health Department at 728-8499 to have your well water tested.
- If there is a “Boil Water Notice” use bottled water or boil the water you need to use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and washing hands for at least one minute.
- If you do not have bottled water or cannot boil the water, disinfect your water by adding plain household bleach. Use ¼ teaspoon or 16 drops of bleach per gallon, shake and let stand for 30 minutes.
Prevent Illness From HEAT EXHAUSTION
- Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting. It is important to cool off by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages, taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath and wearing lightweight clothing.
- Heat exhaustion may lead to a heat stroke. These symptoms include cool moist skin, a pulse rate that is fast and weak, breathing fast and shallow. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms last longer than one hour, or you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
Prevent Illness From CARBON MONOXIDE
- Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and highly poisonous gas. The major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning after a storm is from using a gas powered generator or other gas powered equipment is poorly ventilated areas. Do not use generators, power washers or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
The Carteret County Health Department is continuously monitoring events and activities in our county that could have an impact on the health of our citizens. The health department has developed an epidemiology team (Epi Team) with a mission to protect the health of our citizens by identifying, monitoring and responding to disease outbreaks in Carteret County. This team coordinates with other community healthcare or service providers to guide a comprehensive response to suspected or real threats to public health. There are almost 100 different reportable diseases that health care providers must report to the health department. A communicable disease is a health condition which may be transmitted directly or indirectly from one individual to another. Tuberculosis, Measles, Hepatitis A and B, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough and Smallpox are just examples of some of these diseases. Other diseases such as salmonella and E.Coli are considered food borne diseases and can be easily transmitted. The health department has an active surveillance system in place to identify reportable diseases and is prepared to take the appropriate investigative action to contain the spread of disease within our community.
Acts of Terrorism
The threat of terrorism has become an unfortunate way of life in America. Since the bombings of the World Trade Centers and those terrible acts committed on September 11, 2001, the fear of attack is on the minds of many. Terrorism involves violent acts that create fear and alarm in people to intimidate them. The tools available to terrorists are many. Bombings of public buildings are one tool. Others include the release of anthrax through the U.S. mail system and the air circulation systems of buildings. In fact, terrorists have in their arsenal biological and chemical agents and nuclear weapons which they may choose to use against the American public at any time. As part of the Carteret County Health Department Preparedness and Response Plan, information about biological and chemical agents and nuclear and radiological attacks has been used to develop plans for how we would respond in our county. These plans are coordinated with the State and the Federal Government.
In Carteret County, our residents have had experience in preparing for hurricanes, flooding and strong storms and many of these same actions and activities can be applied to how we would respond to an act of terrorism in our community.
- Be aware of your surroundings and unusual activity
- Learn the warning signals (sirens and evacuation routes) used during emergencies
- Trust your instincts and move away or leave a situation that makes your feel uncomfortable.
- Make note of emergency exits where you work, shop or go to school.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit.
- Develop a communications plan much like you would for a hurricane
- When traveling, do not accept packages from strangers or leave luggage unattended. Suspicious packages and strange devices should be reported to security personnel or the police.