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Calm before the storm

Published 10:48am Wednesday, September 19, 2012

JACKSON – The best information is that coming from a local source.

With September proclaimed as Emergency Preparedness Month,

Northampton County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Parnell advises all county residents to ensure they are registered with DeltAlert to receive emergency information during a major event or disaster.

You can also receive non-emergency information as well as severe weather warning notifications.

Parnell recommends that local citizens sign up for a “free” account to start receiving notifications. It only takes a couple of minutes to register at this link:

https://alerts-01.deltalert.com/optin/start.xhtml?clientId=153976834

Northampton County has contracted with DeltAlert to provide this high-speed notification system for local citizens. The DeltAlert system provides Northampton County officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire county.

Parnell cautioned that such systems are only as good as the telephone number database supporting them.

“No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included; if your phone number is not in the database you will not be called,” Parnell said, urging all individuals and businesses to log onto the Northampton County website: www.northamptonnc.com and click on the “DeltAlert” link to get to the “DeltAlert Notification Registration” page.

Those without Internet access may call Northampton County Emergency Management at 252-574-0214, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. to supply their information over the phone. Required information includes first and last name, street address (physical address, no P.O. boxes), city, state, zip code, and primary phone number. Additional phone numbers can be entered as well.

All businesses should register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.

DeltAlert allows geographically based delivery, which means street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. The system works for cell phones too, but we need to have an associated street address to provide relevant messages,” Parnell explained.

Questions should be directed to the Northampton County Emergency Management, 252-574-0214.

Gov. Bev Perdue has proclaimed September as Emergency Preparedness Month to encourage families, businesses and schools to take precautionary measures to prepare themselves for a variety of emergencies. She urged every citizen to have both an emergency plan and kit.

“Hurricane Irene and the statewide tornado outbreak last year were sobering reminders just how important it is that all of us are prepared for any type of emergency,” Perdue said. “Whether it is a hurricane, tornado, flash flood, snow storm or even earthquake, it is vital that all North Carolinians know what to do when storms threaten. We need to be ready at all times for a disaster.”

Perdue explained that it does not take a major hurricane or tornado to cause extensive damage to a home or to disrupt normal business operations. The heavy rains and severe thunderstorms that struck Halifax and Northampton counties in late August produced extensive flooding in only a few short hours.

“We all know that the best time to prepare for emergencies is before they happen,” Perdue 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.”

Last year alone, North Carolina experienced 63 tornadoes, nearly half of those were during the statewide outbreak on April 16. In addition, there were more than 1,400 severe thunderstorms, more than 375 hail storms, as well as Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

Perdue urged all levels of the community to be prepared. Individuals and families should have their emergency plans and supplies in place. Cities, counties and state agencies should routinely test and exercise their response plans.

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 NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter.

The governor’s proclamation of Emergency Preparedness Month coincides with National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and held each September to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies. The Web site for the national campaign is www.ready.gov.

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