The people who would be called upon to help in the event of a disastrous storm in Scotland County will get to know each other at a meeting next month hosted by Scotland County Emergency Management.
At the Aug. 9 edition of the annual “Hurricane Meeting” Scotland County’s emergency response personnel will gather to receive information on last year’s hurricane activity, predictions for this year’s activity and to review the county’s emergency operations plan.
While one of the chief goals of the meeting is to inform, that is not the most important result of the annual gathering. The most important benefit of the meeting is the opportunity it provides for emergency response personnel to familiarize themselves with each other, said Mike Edge, Assistant Director of emergency services for the county.
“During a storm is not when you want to be meeting for the first time,” Edge said. “Pretty much everybody involved emergency operations for a hurricane will attend the meeting, with that in mind.”
Local emergency responders including representatives of the health department, social services, law enforcement, the Red Cross, various fire departments as well as the news media have been invited to attend the meeting.
“We want to go ahead and establish good working relationships, so that when we need to put response plans into action, everyone is on the same page,” said Nick Petro, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
Petro will be delivering a presentation on storm statistics at the meeting.
“I will be providing information regarding climatology, storm patterns and the climatological influence on them, as well as discussing this past storm season and how the current season is shaping up so far,” Petro said.
According to Petro, the storm season “doesn’t typically ramp up until mid-August.”
“We did have a record earlier this season for the most tropical cyclones so early,” said Petro of the names storms that formed earlier this year. “But overall we are expecting a near normal or slightly below normal season.”
In the event of a hurricane or tornado, Edge said that Scotland County Emergency Services personnel would coordinate their activities with storm information provided by Petro.
“Lots of times when we have a tornado on the ground, that’s the person we’re are talking to, so we all like to keep in touch,” Edge said.
Petro agreed, saying that in “any natural disaster partnership … it is obviously good to really get to know the people you are working with.”
The group will also update contact information, where necessary, and discuss any changes in the state’s coastal area evacuation plan.