Tourism officials get a lesson in emergency preparedness - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Tourism officials get a lesson in emergency preparedness

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Authorities say it's very important for tourism agencies to work closely with emergency teams to prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a disaster. Authorities say it's very important for tourism agencies to work closely with emergency teams to prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a disaster.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Hurricane season is starting to wind down, but emergency officials in our area say the threat of a potential disaster never goes away.

As a result, emergency training is cranking up. Authorities say it's very important for tourism agencies to work closely with emergency teams to prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a disaster.

About a dozen members of the North Carolina Coast Host Organization gathered in Ocean Isle Beach on Thursday to learn more about how to keep people safe when they're traveling.

North Carolina Coast Host is a membership organization made up of tourism partners such as accommodations, attractions, chambers of commerce, convention & visitor bureaus, publishers and other tourism-related businesses located along North Carolina's 300 mile coastline from Elizabeth City to Calabash. 

Brunswick County Emergency Services Director, Anthony Marzano gave a presentation to the group, with a focus on communication.

"The tourism here is so vitally important to every facet of life that it's important that emergency management teams have a clearly defined and established relationship with them as partners so that we can support each other," said Marzano.

During the busy summer months, Brunswick County is one of the most traveled locations in the state – making it difficult to prepare for natural disasters like a hurricane.

"During the peak of hurricane season, we can be 250,000-300,000 people in the county," said Marzano. "We're only resourced on permanent population, so there are a lot of challenges that we have to anticipate."

Marzano said it's very important for everyone to prepare for emergency situations, especially tourism agencies. He thinks the best way to do that is for groups to partner with emergency management teams to develop an emergency plan and an exit route in case of an evacuation.

"Having a plan sitting on a shelf is no good unless all partners know about it so making sure we talk to hotels and attractions and test our systems," said NC Coast Host Chair Theresa Carter, who said she learned a lot from the presentation.

Marzano said it's important that every business have a plan in place for what to do in the event of an emergency, not just tourism agencies.

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