Pender County offers hurricane safety advice as Isaias approaches

Pender County offers hurricane safety advice as Isaias approaches
Pender County officials are holding off on declaring a state of emergency as Hurricane Isaias makes its way to the region according to Emergency Management Director Carson Smith.

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Pender County officials are holding off on declaring a state of emergency as Hurricane Isaias makes its way to the region according to Emergency Management Director Carson Smith.

“While we monitor the path of Hurricane Isaias, we want to take this opportunity to remind our residents to prepare for wind and rain,” Smith said. “This is the time to prepare. If you don’t have a hurricane emergency kit, this is the time to assemble one. Have batteries, plenty of drinking water, medications, cash, and propane in stock. Prepare for fallen trees and power outages.”

On Saturday, county staff met with members of surrounding municipalities to give an update on the status of the storm, and preparations taking place.

Isaias has slowed its momentum, now the storm is predicted to reach the region late Monday night into early Tuesday, Smith said, it is also looking like Isaias will be downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reaches Pender County.

“Most of the weather will be out of here by daybreak, a brief tropical event is what we might be looking at,” he said.

While a state of emergency has not yet been declared, the county has prepared one in the event that it needs to be issued, Smith said. Even if the storm is downgraded from hurricane status tropical storms, especially decaying storms, have the potential to create tornadoes so that is something the county and municipalities need to be aware of.

As far as evacuations goes, none have been issued and Smith does not expect to issue any. Shelter staff are on standby but at this time no shelters have been activated.

Residents are being encouraged to sign up for the county’s CodeRed service.

“CodeRed is a free emergency alert system which is specific to Pender County street addresses and neighborhoods. Users may sign up for CodeRed in English or Spanish. Go to the Pender County Emergency Management Facebook page or website and click on the CodeRed logo to sign up today online,” according to a county press release.

Pender County will operate as usual on Monday and the County Commissioners meeting is still planned to take place, however, the commissioners will only meet to discuss essential business.

“We are monitoring Hurricane Isaias,” County Manager Chad McEwen said. “We anticipate conducting an abbreviated Board of County Commissioners meeting at 4 p.m. For the safety of the public, staff, and commissioners only essential business will be conducted. All other agenda matters will be postponed until further notice.”

County officials are also pushing for generator safety if the storm does take out power in the area.

“The major hazards when using a generator is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust,” Smith said. “Electrocution and fire are safety hazards too.”

“To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands. Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite. Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator,” the county recommends.

Municipalities in Pender County seemed to be on the same page as the county government, not issuing any evacuations just yet and waiting to declare any state of emergency.

The county will host another virtual meeting tomorrow at 1 p.m. for another update.

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