We were ready

Published 7:46 pm Monday, September 8, 2008

Thankfully, Tropical Storm Hanna’s winds didn’t come close to those of Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

But we were ready.

Thankfully, the rain associated with Tropical Storm Hanna failed to even minutely resemble the moisture that fell during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

But we were ready.

What makes us ready is our ability to learn from the past.

Even before it became obvious that Hanna would make its predicted turn up the Eastern Seaboard, local and state emergency management officials were hatching a plan. As it is with any tropical system, it’s never wise to wait until the last minute to make preparations.

A plan was in place for Hanna, no matter what form she took as the storm gathered a head of steam and made a beeline for North Carolina.

Locally, the Emergency Management Directors in all four counties – Rickey Freeman (Bertie), Billy Winn (Gates), Charles Jones (Hertford) and Tim Byers (Northampton) – were prepared for the worst. Likewise, the Sheriff’s offices, Departments of Social Services, Health Departments, town police, fire and rescue were ready to roll at a moment’s notice. Local emergency shelters were ready to open their doors if needed.

In Raleigh, Gov. Mike Easley had already declared a state of emergency, an official document making North Carolina immediately available for federal assistance. Gov. Easley also activated the state National Guard and placed specialized rescue teams on high alert. Additionally, the Governor had 144 State Highway Patrol Troopers on standby to head to affected areas if needed.

Meanwhile, Dominion Power, Roanoke Electric Cooperative and the NC Department of Transportation stood at the ready. All had extra manpower to deal with any situation that may have risen.

Thankfully, Hanna was nothing more than a stiff breeze with limited moisture by the time she paid the Roanoke-Chowan area a visit. But to the credit of those we depend upon to help us during emergency situations, they were ready to roll and for that, we thank them.