BURGAW – Pender County Emergency Management released its Hurricane Florence After Action Report. The report, which required the work of more than 70 participants and six committees, outlines strengths and actions for improvement.
“Hurricane Florence is our new benchmark in first response,” said Randell Woodruff, Pender County manager. “The After Action Report details the steps we need to take as a county to improve as the nature of our storms change.”
Hurricane Florence, a storm that was just shy of being a Category 2 hurricane, dropped up to 40 inches of rain in some portions of Pender County, resulting in mass flooding.
“Florence stalled over Pender County,” said Collins. “Our response to more than 1,850 rescue missions was stellar. But we’re never satisfied. We’re always looking for ways to improve.”
The report outlines strengths and improvements in six areas – communications, debris management, shelters, asset management, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and operations, and training and staff.
Strengths included the response and preparation of emergency management officials and first responders; public information and the use of multiple platforms to disseminate updates and warnings; the collaboration of county agencies; and distribution and planning for the county’s fuel needs during and after the storm.
The areas of improvement included identification and training of essential EOC staff; the need for reconfiguration of the EOC for improved efficiency; debris management and timelines; shelter planning and training to improve functionality of temporary shelters.
“We’ve started working on many of the areas identified in the report,” said Collins.
The EOC has been reconfigured, training sessions have been underway since July, and plans have been drawn to house more emergency staffing during an extreme storm event.
“We are vigilant to improve while remaining prudent with our spending,” said Woodruff.
The report is available online here.