Beaufort County says it's prepared for Irma's impact


WASHINGTON, Beaufort County - With Hurricane Irma forecasts still uncertain at this point, Beaufort County Emergency Management says, no matter which county you live in, you should be prepared.

BCEM has spent the past couple of days making sure resources are in place for Irma. Despite the latest information having the storm moving further to the west of our state, officials said you should be doing the same at home, just to be on the safe side.

"We kinda have to be prepared for a range of events," said Chris Newkirk, Operations Chief of Fire/Emergency Management for the county. "From severe impact, to something very light with just rain and winds. So as part of our preparation, we can't dismiss any option."

Newkirk said the best way to prepare is to have a family evacuation plan and to download the ReadyNC app on their smart phones. The app tells you about road conditions, outages, open shelters and more.

"And most importantly is the emergency plan kit," Newkirk said. "It gives you and itemized checklist of what you should include in your home kit for both sheltering in place and having to evacuate."

In the emergency kit, Newkirk said it's important you pack enough for you to survive three days, just in case responders can't get to you right away.

"72 hours is kind of like the magic number," Newkirk said. "We would hope that they could shelter in place in their homes, have enough water and medicine to survive for 72 hours without assistance."

Lastly, Newkirk said when you're coming up with your family's evacuation plan, make sure you don't leave out the ones that are sometimes overlooked ... your pets.

"A lot of us, we have four-legged family members," Newkirk said. "Pets are very much a part of our family and our lives. We should not neglect them in this time as well."

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