Brunswick County encourages residents to consider shelters a ‘last resort'

Brunswick Electric expands crews to increase restoration time if there is a loss of power

Brunswick County encourages residents to consider shelters a ‘last resort'
The Brunswick County seal. (Source: Brunswick County)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County has announced two emergency shelter locations ahead of Hurricane Isaias, although, at the time neither shelters have been opened.

COVID-19 is obviously a concern in opening the shelters and the county is asking residents to consider shelters a last resort.

“Social distancing will reduce the capacity at shelters this year due to concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Shelter space will be limited and should be only considered as a last resort,” according to the county. Brunswick County recommends that individuals find alternative, safer locations to shelter such as with family, friends, or a more inland location away from this area in the event of a hurricane. Individuals should not shelter at home when an evacuation order is issued for their municipality or the county.”

There are two shelters for Brunswick County, Cedar Grove Middle School located at 750 Grove Trail, SW, Supply, NC 28462; and Town Creek Middle School at 6370 Lake Park Dr. SE, Winnabow, NC 28479.

If these shelters reach capacity, there are secondary shelters in place.

“Brunswick County’s hurricane preparation plans include secondary or alternative shelters in the event of overflow at its primary shelters or to accommodate additional sheltering needs. Brunswick County will communicate additional shelter locations available to the public on this webpage, through its communications channels, and its online shelter map if necessary,” according to the county.

There are some additional rules in place due to COVID-19 for those utilizing the emergency shelters.

  • Face coverings or masks must be worn at all times. Individuals are encouraged to bring their own preferred cloth face coverings or masks. Disposable face coverings will be provided to anyone who does not have one.
  • All shelter guests must undergo a pre-screening for COVID-19 before entering the shelter. This will consist of a answering a series of questions about potential COVID-19 symptoms they could be experiencing, if they have tested positive for COVID-19, or if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
  • Any individual suspected to have COVID-19 will be required to stay in an isolated section of the shelter to prevent potential spread.

Additional details and information on the shelters in Brunswick County can be found online, including pet information and what to expect while at a shelter.

Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) is working to prepare for the storm.

“Living on the coast, it leaves us susceptible to these types of storms, so our prep really starts in the way we design our system,” said Corey Thurlow, the COO of Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation. “We have a lot of resiliency built into the system. We put a lot of it underground, so the wind isn’t as big of a factor. We also build in secondary feeds into our substation that during an outage, allow us to restore more quickly.”

More crew members have been brought in to help respond and restore power outages faster.

“Depending on what happens during the storm, you kind of have a systematic approach to restore power,” said Thurlow. “It depends where the outage occurs. If it’s on a transmission line, you need to get that back online first, check the substation, and then get your communities back online. It kind of depends on what happens and our crews are definitely visible out in our community and a lot of our members here have been through some of this before and they know that we’re out there getting it done.”

Thurlow wants to remind everyone to make smart choices during power outages.

“if you do see a downed power line is to give us a call and certainly do not go near the powerline or touch it,” said Thurlow. “That’s a critical safety measure. Just give it a call and we’ll get out there and get it fixed as soon as we can. As I said, we’ve got some extra folks helping us out so we should get able to get out there and get back on quick.”

BEMC has a hurricane prep guide that includes information on how to prep during a hurricane and for a power outage.

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