NC EMS agency sends strike team to areas hit hard by Hurricane Florence
After unexpected mercy from Hurricane Florence, an ambulance strike team from northeastern North Carolina will travel to help with rescue efforts
By Jeff Hampton
BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. — Instead of pleading for aid, flood-prone Bertie County is sending it.
This time, the river didn’t rise to the second floor of the stately buildings on King Street, the main drag through Windsor.
“I am well rested and my socks are dry,” said Scott Sauer, Bertie County manager, on Monday.
“It’s so refreshing to be able to lend a hand for a change.”
After the unexpected mercy from Hurricane Florence, an ambulance strike team from northeastern North Carolina will travel to the southeast to help with rescue efforts, according to a release from Dare County Emergency Medical Services. Crews of typically 14 emergency personnel will rotate roughly every three days, said Jennie Collins, chief of Dare County EMS.
The groups are made up of workers from Bertie, Chowan, Pasquotank, Camden and Perquimans counties.
Hurricane Florence threatened the worst before suddenly turning south, slamming ashore, raining, stalling, and then curving around northeastern North Carolina instead of trampling over top.
Hurricanes strike North Carolina and Florida more often than other states. One passes within 50 miles of Cape Hatteras every five years, the highest frequency in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Outer Banks stick out like a boxer’s chin, waiting for an uppercut. Storms approach the coast and ride up the Gulf Stream to the barrier islands. The effects spread inland, dumping torrential rain on counties such as Bertie.
Two years ago, two different storms submerged Windsor in a month, with water levels surpassing 15 feet each time. Several buildings were inundated, including the library, the emergency services headquarters and the post office. Residents had to travel to the neighboring county for weeks to get their mail. Grants totaling more than $7 million helped rebuild the county.
Last week, the community was dreading what would happen if Florence dumped up to 8 inches of rain here as forecast. But only 2 inches of rain fell on Bertie County, and the flood-prone Cashie River that runs through Windsor behaved.
The effects of flooding and the damage left behind by a hurricane go beyond physical dangers and can be long term, Sauer said.
“It takes a toll, psychologically and emotionally,” Sauer said.
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