08/24/11 — County, base preparing for possible hurricane

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County, base preparing for possible hurricane

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 24, 2011 1:46 PM

With forecasters still trying to determine the exact track of Hurricane Irene, local officials are beginning to make preparations in case in travels further inland than currently expected.

Mel Powers, Wayne County emergency management and security director, said Tuesday that the county's emergency staff has been meeting, but that they are waiting to get a better idea of the potential impact before making plans to open shelters.

"We're watching the hurricane at this time, keeping up with the National Hurricane Center on the official tracking, looking at what it's doing now versus what we've seen in the past," he said. "Based on the 2 p.m. update (Tuesday) it's traveling more toward the Outer Banks, so we're looking pretty good, but that could always change."

And just in case it does, officials on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base are also making preparations to move their aircraft to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Second Lt. Keavy Rake, deputy chief of public affairs, said they would begin evacuating the 4th Fighter Wing's fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles and the 916th's fleet of KC-135R Stratotankers on Thursday and finish on Friday.

For the rest of Wayne County, the Red Cross is urging people to take steps to prepare themselves in their homes.

"We must do what we can to prepare our families and make our communities ready for Hurricane Irene, as well as future emergencies," said Chuck Waller, executive director of the Wayne, Greene and Lenoir county chapters, in a written statement. "Everyone can take three key action steps to get started: build a kit, make a plan and be informed."

Emergency kits should include enough supplies to last at least three days, including nonperishable food, one gallon of water per person per day, flashlights, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, batteries, first-aid kit, medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, a multi-purpose tool and copies of important personal documents.

The Red Cross also urges people to keep at least two weeks of such supplies at home, and to have an emergency plan that designates a meeting place outside the home, contact information for all members of the household and out-of-area emergency contact information.

For more information, visit www.redcross.org.