Sampson declares September as 'Preparedness Month'

·3 min read

Sep. 17—Residents pass by a mailbox while traveling through the flooded Ivanhoe town.

Flood waters rush under bridges on U.S. 421, and cross one of the bridges, closing the road during Hurricane Florence.

N.C. 24 (Turkey Highway) east of Clinton, the site of flooding, was torn apart in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

On the anniversary of Hurricane Florence three years ago, the Sampson County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution declaring September as "Preparedness Month," joining counties across the state in the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners' "100 Counties Prepared" initiative.

The resolution encourages citizens to take proactive steps to prepare for potential emergencies by developing a household emergency plan and communicating their plan to family members, building an emergency kit, understanding weather watches and warnings, and knowing where to find critical local storm response information.

In 2018, Hurricane Florence winds caused tornadoes and catastrophic flooding in Sampson County which necessitated more than 70 water rescue operations. Nearly 60% of the county lost power, and many areas became temporarily isolated due to washed out roadways. The county operated a total of 13 shelters, housing over 3,200 people and 200 pets.

"As we recall the devastation of three years ago, we are reminded of the need for all of us to be prepared, " stated County Commissioner Jerol Kivett, who represents the District 6 counties (Sampson, Harnett, and Cumberland) on the NCACC Board of Directors. "My colleague and NCACC President Frank Williams of Brunswick County has appointed a task force of commissioners charged with developing training for county commissioners on emergency readiness and encouraging strategic response relationships. We are delighted to join this important initiative."

The "100 Counties Prepared" initiative will focus on training county commissioners on how to effectively lead during emergencies, compiling resources to assist commissioners during emergency situations, and helping commissioners establish relationships with key emergency management partners.

The initiative encompasses the full spectrum of emergencies that can occur anywhere in the state, including mudslides, earthquakes, tornados, flooding, hurricane, and pandemic response (‐counties‐prepared)

National Preparedness Month is an observance each September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2021 theme of National Preparedness Month is "Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love."

Find helpful information on how you can protect your loved ones from many types of disasters at

Sampson has been affected by a number of disasters and emergencies in recent years, including Hurricanes Florence, Matthew, and Isaias and the tornadoes in nearby communities.

Counties throughout North Carolina have been affected by a variety of emergencies, including mudslides, wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, and the COVID‐19 pandemic.

In 2020, the State of North Carolina experienced 48 tornado touchdowns, 247 flood incidents, and 609 severe thunderstorms with damaging wind and hail, all of which resulted in more than $27.5 million in damages statewide.

The peak period of hurricane season is historically mid‐August through October, and this week of September marks the peak of hurricane season.

"The Sampson County Board of Commissioners desires that every household, property owner, and business in Sampson County be prepared for potential emergencies," the resolution states. "The Board of Commissioners of Sampson County hereby declares September 2021 as Preparedness Month in Sampson County and encourages all citizens to Prepare to Protect their loved ones by developing an emergency plan, building an emergency kit, and communicating their emergency plan to all members of their household and/or workplace."

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