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Northampton adds two more storm shelters

JACKSON – In addition to the three usual locations that serve Northampton County citizens during emergencies, two more sites were approved to provide closer-to-home options for county residents. The sites can also be used as staging areas for emergency response.

Interim Emergency Management Director Tony Burnette presented the proposal to the commissioners at their regular meeting here on Sept. 8. The two new sites will be located at Creecy Gym in Rich Square and the Lake Gaston Community Center.

During emergency situations, such as when natural disasters occur, the county partners with the American Red Cross to provide shelters at the Wellness Center in Jackson, Conway Middle School, and Northampton County High School in Gaston.

Burnette explained that adding the two new sites would make evacuation easier because people wouldn’t have to travel as far.

“We have at least three to four nursing facilities [in Rich Square] and we also have a senior citizen apartment there,” he explained. “And if we have an emergency in the Lake Gaston area, those people would have to come all the way to Gaston.”

Burnette noted that he also recently received approval from the Rich Square Town Council since the Creecy facility is located within the town limits.

“This is being proactive,” Board Chair Charles Tyner said in agreement with the proposal, noting that the county has been “blessed” so far to not be hit too hard with natural disasters.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner said she would like to see additional smoke detectors installed at the Creecy site, and Burnette said that could easily be taken care of.

Faulkner motioned to approve both sites for use as emergency shelters, and Commissioner Nicole Boone seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

The Creecy facility is located at 210 Roberts Road, Rich Square, and the Lake Gaston Community Center is located at 564 NC Hwy 46, Gaston.