Bright Ideas Award Provides Emergency Preparedness Supplies to Seniors on Hatteras Island
By: Kelly Nettnin, BS, CSAPC, Communications Specialist
Anyone who has lived in Dare County knows that our geography brings unique challenges to services and opportunities for our residents. Our geography coupled with a coastal environment presents unique challenges for our community, especially when storms arrive.
In the fall of 2011, Hurricane Irene hit the coast of North Carolina, leaving two breaches on Highway 12 on Hatteras Island, one of which took over two months to repair. During circumstances similar to these, Hatteras Island residents have to rely on ferry transportation to the main islands. Getting supplies can be problematic or delayed. This is why it is important for all of our residents to be prepared for emergency situations, especially those who reside on Hatteras Island. The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services (DCDHHS) has partnered with Dare County Emergency Management for years to provide services such as the Special Medical Needs Registry, public health information that detail recommendations for cleaning flooded homes,and even financial assistance to individuals impacted by storm events.
"In addition to our geography, our community has more older adults than most North Carolina counties," commented James Wooten, Preparedness Coordinator with DCDHHS. "Our 2013 Community Health Assessment identified our growing older adult population as a group of focus and opportunity. In 2000 Dare County's population of individuals 65 and older was 13.8% and is anticipated to be over 26% in 2030."
Wooten found an opportunity to help out our Hatteras Island residents, particularly our older adult/vulnerable population. He applied for and received a grant from the NC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response to prepare 150 emergency kits to be provided to these residents. A team of community volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corp and Hatteras Island Critical Emergency Response Team (CERT) formed to decide how to best complete the task.