Training in North Carolina

OK, so my good friend and co-instructor “Joe” and I are in Raleigh, North Carolina this week and we’re here teaching the FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Manager class.  We are teaching at the request of the North Carolina Emergency Management Division  which reports in to the state’s Department of Public Safety.  Like them on their Facebook page .

The Emergency Management Division is one of nine agencies within the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. The division is responsible for protecting the people of North Carolina from the effects of disasters, natural and manmade.

Like other State Emergency Management organizations, the North Carolina Emergency Management Division responds quickly to support local government emergency operations. The three branch managers and 15 area coordinators are trained equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to rapidly respond to the scene of an emergency to coordinate the delivery of state assistance.  The resources of the state can be available within a matter of minutes to assist local governments.

Recent North Carolina Disasters

Like other parts of the United States, North Carolina has been faced with hot weather too.  This week they are predicting extreme heat across the state for the next several days that may cause the hottest temps ever observed here.  Actual high temperatures for the next 5 days range between 99 – 106, but with the heat index it will make it feel like temperatures are between 105 and 115.

  • Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1, 2010, the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole dumped between five and 24 inches of rain on Eastern North Carolina.  Major flooding occurred along the Cashie, Cape Fear, Lumber, Trent, Neuse and Dan rivers.
  • On April 16, 2011 the largest tornado outbreak in state history swept across central and eastern North Carolina impacted more than 30 counties, claimed 24 lives, injured 133 people, destroyed and damaged thousands of homes and businesses.
  • Last year, Hurricane Irene was a sober reminder just how destructive hurricanes and tropical systems can be for NC families, businesses and communities. While Hurricane Irene struck North Carolina’s coast as a Category 1 – the weakest level hurricane – the system caused the worst flooding that many of the Inner Banks counties have seen in decades. Flood levels ranged from two feet above ground level in Aurora to more than five feet above ground in Stonewall and Mesic.  In fact, more than one-third of the state was impacted by Irene, and many North Carolinians are still recovering from that powerful storm.
    North Carolina residents and emergency managers began preparing for Hurricane Irene August 24 as the Category 3 storm approached the state with 115 mph sustained winds. Effects from the hurricane could be felt in New Hanover County by the evening of August 26. By the time Hurricane Irene made landfall at 9 a.m Saturday, Aug. 27 near Cape Lookout the winds had diminished and was downgraded to a Category 1 storm.  The hurricane caused storm surge of 2 to 4 feet along parts of the Outer Banks and up to 15 feet along parts of the Pamlico Sound.

Location, Location, Location

Recently, the Emergency Management Division moved from their former location in the State Administrative offices to the new North Carolina National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. The Joint Forces Headquarters sits on 15 acres in Raleigh, N.C. and is built to maximum anti-terrorism standards.   Check out this You Tube video of the North Carolina National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters Dedication Ceremony .

North Carolina BBQ

My wife teases me by saying that my life revolves around food.  While it pains me to think (or say) she’s right, I can’t think of many meals I didn’t like and even fewer that I’ve missed.  And to have a good meal with family and good friends … well, that’s what makes life fun.

I’ve often heard about how great North Carolina BBQ is.  Part of the intrigue for me was the spicy vinegar sauce that’s used and the chopped preparation of the whole hog meat.  So, for our first night, Joe and I ate at the recommended Pit .  Now that we’ve been there, I can say we weren’t disappointed.  The atmosphere was more “upscale” than what I was expecting (no picnic tables!) but it’s not “snooty”.  The service was excellent.  We had three servers assigned to our area, so we had plenty of attention.  We both ordered the more traditional “chopped BBQ” which came with the chopped BBQ meat (whole hog) and two sides (I had cole slaw and BBQ beans, Joe had mashed taters and ratatouille).  Before our orders came out, we munched on a couple of warm biscuits with honey butter and some hush puppies.  Our dinners were very good.  The meat was moist and very flavorful, and the sides were outstanding, although I wish they were a little larger.  I thought the prices were modest for a place like The Pit.  Would I recommend The Pit to others?  Yes.

Class Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’ll start our CERT Program Manager class.  We’ve got a good size class with just over 30 participants.  I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and read about the class and that facility we are in.  Until then, stay safe!

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