Caldwell County REACT Called Out to Help After Storm

Curt and Hunter setting up cots.

October 23, 2017, southern Caldwell County was hit with tornadoes/bad wind storm damage the second time in less than two weeks uprooting trees, closing roads, and damaging and destroying homes. At 6:20 pm the CERT-trained volunteers of Caldwell County REACT was called into service by Kenneth Teague, Emergency Management Coordinator. Ten team members responded.

Two assisted by taking tarps and other emergency supplies to Grace Chapel Fire and Rescue which was in the middle of the destruction. Rosemary and Michaela Hall had to avoid several road hazards and take back road detours to get to the station.

Eight REACT members were deployed to South Caldwell High School to assist the Red Cross with unloading and setting up cots in the gymnasium which was being opened as an emergency shelter. Curt Hiller, Hunter Mise, Gary Dishman, Sabrina Laws, and Steve and Sherri Bogdan were among the REACT volunteers. Another REACT member, Dick Blumenstein, spent the evening assisting in his neighborhood clearing roads and driveways of fallen limbs and trees.

The REACT team reported back to the Emergency Operations Center for assignments and instructions for the next morning. Members will be assisting in the EOC and will accompany three damage assessment teams in Caldwell County areas damaged in the storm.

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Caldwell County REACT Assists Lenoir Rotary With Used Tires Collection

Curt, Irv, Michaela, Kenneth, Shirley, Sherri, Steve, Rosemary

A group of CERT volunteers who are members of Caldwell County REACT, spent Saturday morning, October 7, 2017 managing traffic during the Used Tires Collection event.

Earlier this year our members were trained on the deployment of the county’s new M.E.R.T. (Multiple Event Response Trailer) to manage traffic and pedestrian traffic during events or disasters. The trailer is stocked with various traffic control equipment including cones, dragons teeth that can be filled with water, barricades, and directional signs.

We put this training into practice Saturday morning when we assisted the Lenoir Rotary Club with the collection of used tires from the community. Our REACT members arrived before 7 am when it was still dark to set up the traffic flow and two drop-off lanes for vehicles. Throughout the morning we managed traffic and kept the lanes running smoothly. A semi-trailer of used tires was collected in four hours. People brought from one tire in their trunk to 50 tires on a trailer. There were many pick-ups with their beds loaded. As one resident stated, getting rid of the pick-up load of tires out of his yard would reduce the mosquito population significantly. It also reduces illegal dumping.

Our team members enjoyed working with Lenoir Rotary who worked very hard to fill the semi-trailer. Another trailer was in reserve, if needed. Using the M.E.R.T. equipment and directing traffic was good experience and training. For example, it became obvious why the CERT POD (Points of Distribution) training directs you to have vehicles make a turn into the entrance lane to slow them down. We had a few cars squeal through the turn and may have been a hazard to the workers unloading tires if not forced to slow down. We also learned that many drivers do not follow directions and must be monitored very closely to avoid being hit. One man started in one lane after difficulty, then halfway down the lane decided to drive through the cones and swerve around the semi to the other lane for no apparent reason.

We had only one disappointed customer. The driver of a pickup loaded with a used mattress, old wheelchair, and other debris, but no tires, was told, no, we could not unload and recycle his material.

Caldwell County Donates for Wildfire Firefighters

kimberly-in-truckA donation center was opened on Wednesday at the Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building, 2345 Morganton Blvd, SW. to be open until Saturday, November 19, 1:00-6:00 pm to collect supplies for the crews fighting the wildfires in Burke County and around NC. Caldwell County residents have been very responsive to the request to donate. Businesses, individuals, elementary school students and staff, employee groups, county employees, and church groups have used our donation drop-off.

Volunteers from CERT, Bethel Colony of Mercy, and Kings Creek Fire Corp are staffing the drop-off location unloading donations, keeping inventory, packing and organizing like items, and preparing items for distribution and storage. Friday was our busiest day so far. Thanks to all the people making donations and the volunteers helping them!

This is the list of needed items:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Wool Caps/Toboggans
  • Bandanas
  • Energy Bars
  • Bottled Water (16oz) (We have had some large, commercial donations of water, so water is not needed right now.)
  • Gatorade (12 or 16 oz)
  • Socks, medium to large size work or boot socks
  • Travel Size Hand Wipes
  • Travel Size Hand Lotion
  • Travel Size Gold Bond Foot Powder
  • Work Gloves
  • Saline Eye Drops
  • Lip Balm
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Donations being accepted for NC firefighters

bethel-colonyToday CERT members and volunteers from Bethel Colony worked with Kenneth Teague, Emergency Management Coordinator, to collect and organize donations for the men and women who are fighting the numerous NC wildfires. We will continue to take donations Thursday and Friday, November 17-18, from 1:00 to 6:00 pm, at the Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building, 2345 Morganton Blvd, SW, Lenoir. Look for the semi-truck trailer in the field in front of the building. There will be people available to unload your car or truck.

Due to the overwhelming community support, we ask that donations be limited to ONLY the following items at this time:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Wool Caps/Toboggans
  • Bandanas
  • Energy Bars
  • Bottled Water (16oz)
  • Gatorade (12 or 16 oz)
  • Socks, medium to large size work or boot socks
  • Travel Size Hand Wipes
  • Travel Size Hand Lotion
  • Travel Size Gold Bond Foot Powder
  • Work Gloves
  • Saline Eye Drops
  • Lip Balm

Hazardous Material Exercise at Happy Valley School

CERT Moulage artists Rosemary and Michaela Hall with "victim" Curt Hiller

CERT Moulage artists Rosemary and Michaela Hall with “victim” Curt Hiller

Friday afternoon, October 28, 2o16, a hazardous material/school evacuation exercise was organized by the Caldwell County Emergency Management Office. This was a multi-agency training exercise including the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department, Yadkin Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Happy Valley School staff, the Caldwell County School District, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department, Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Blue Ridge Energies, Lenoir Amateur Radio Club, Caldwell County CERT, and the Hibriten Fire Academy. Specialized Consulting assisted with the design and evaluation of the exercise.

The scenario was the crash of a propane tanker truck on the road next to  Happy Valley School resulting in a significant propane leak and injuries. In reality, it was an early release day for the students of Happy Valley School, so no children were at the site of the exercise. The purpose of the training exercise was to contain the release and damage of the propane gas to people and the environment, safe and timely evacuation and reunification of school students and staff, and treatment and transport of injured victims.

A “hot wash” debriefing followed the exercise at the Patterson Fire Department. Kenneth Teague, Caldwell County Emergency Management Officer, described the exercise as a successful demonstration of the expertise and training of those involved, and an opportunity to learn.

Caldwell County CERT volunteers participated in event communications through Lenoir Amateur Radio Club, moulage artistry to make victims appear realistically injured, victims, and photographic documentation of the event.

CERT Club Meeting Reminder

T2016-09-29-first-club-photohis is a reminder of the club formed by CERT-trained volunteers to insure we are prepared to help ourselves, families, and neighbors during any disaster. The next meeting is Thursday, 6:00-8:00 pm, October 27, 2016, at the Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building, 2345 Morganton Blvd, SW, Lenoir. Send an RSVP to caldwellcountyCERT@gmail.com.

There will be a presentation about bleeding control with tourniquet techniques with quest speaker Tarran Berry from Caldwell County EMS.

We also encourage members to bring tools, books, or equipment related to emergency preparedness and CERT to the meeting to share with the group.

CERT Volunteers Needed for Haz Mat Exercise

Firefighters 3Volunteers are needed for various roles including playing victims at a hazardous materials disaster exercise on Friday, October 28, 1:00-4:00 pm, Happy Valley School. This is an early release day for students at the school, but the exercise will be held to train and assess first responders and school staff in the event of a disaster requiring mitigation of hazardous materials, treatment of victims, and evacuation of students. This is a good opportunity for CERT-trained volunteers to participate and observe emergency management in action.

To volunteer, send an email to caldwellcountyCERT@gmail.com.