$10,000 grant to provide disaster kits for special needs citizens

SMITHFIELD, N.C. – Disaster preparedness kits will soon be available to some citizens with special needs.

The Johnston County Health Department has been awarded a Bright Ideas grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Health Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. The $10,000 grant will be used to build the disaster preparedness kits for those in the county on the Special Needs Registry.

The kits are a collection of items to have on hand in case a disaster or emergency occurs that prevents access to services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have many guides to help citizens build such kits.

“To be prepared, we suggest having supplies like a weather radio, food and water, and other essentials for at least 72 hours per person in the home,” said David Hesselmeyer, preparedness coordinator with the Health Department.

Local agencies meet together regularly as the Special Needs Task Force that works to prepare for emergencies and to help those in the county with special needs.

“Having a preparedness kit can be the difference between having to be in a shelter away from home or being able to stay at home,” said Steve Strickland, Assistant Health Director.

In the coming months, the task force will be purchasing and putting together the kits for registrants to pick up, at which time they’ll have a chance to talk with members of the task force. A date for the event will be announced soon.

“In wake of the recent winter weather, it is important to have a preparedness kit ready,” said Kevin Madsen, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Johnston County. “It is also important that if you or someone you know has a special need to get registered for the Special Needs Registry.”

If you or someone you know needs to get placed on the Special Needs Registry, you can visit the website here or contact the Johnston County Health Department, DSS or Emergency Services.

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