Town, county leaders team up to prepare for next storm

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Hurricanes Irene, Matthew and Florence have devastated local areas in recent years, but the storms also left lessons to be learned.

“Unfortunately, we have had too much practice in dealing with storms,” said Mount Olive Town Manager Charles Brown. “Now, we are working together with the county to put all that experience together and be better prepared for the next situation.”

Paramount of the issues is to make sure there is a clear line of communications between Mount Olive and the county when it comes to emergency services, he said.

Mount Olive’s Town Board of Commissioners just recently named Brown as the town’s official spokesman in the event of an emergency, and also named Public Works Director Jammie Royall as its official “go to” when it comes to making sure communication capabilities are functional.

“We have to make sure in the event of an emergency we have a way to communicate with the county, and that is Royall’s responsibility,” Brown said. “My responsibility is to get the information out to the public and get it out in a timely and accurate manner.”

Local officials will work closely with county emergency services and the county’s public information officer, he said.

When Hurricane Florence hit, the storm hampered emergency communications and an “influx of incorrect information” was posted on social media outlets, causing other issues, he said.

“There was a lot of information posted on Facebook and none of it was accurate. We just want to make sure when information is put out to the public it is accurate and provided in a timely manner,” Brown said.

Local authorities continue to work with the county to make sure all of those types of issues will be addressed and fixed in time for the next storm, but efforts right now are still in the planning stage.

“We want to make sure that we have all the contact information in place,” he said. “We are all working to be even better prepared for the next storm that comes along.”

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