The track of Hurricane Matthew has trended today towards the North Carolina coast, resulting in increased confidence of widespread flooding and significantly damaging winds and power outages for Sampson County. Therefore, Sampson County officials have announced that the county plan for emergency shelters will be implemented. Emergency shelters will be opened at the following locations, effective 8 a.m. Saturday.
• Sampson Middle School, 1201 W. Elizabeth St., Clinton
• Union Elementary School, 10400 Taylors Bridge Hwy., Clinton
• Hobbton Middle School, 12081 Hobbton Hwy., Newton Grove
• Midway Elementary School, 15375 Spivey’s Corner Hwy., Dunn
• Lakewood High School, 245 Lakewood School Road, Salemburg
Officials with the Sampson County Department of Social Services and the Sampson County Health Department will man the Red Cross shelters, along with other county agencies. County and municipal law enforcement will provide security. The Sampson County Emergency Operations Center will be fully activated as of 8 a.m. Saturday.
All persons coming to a shelter are asked to bring bedding, medicines, foods (especially baby foods and baby supplies), personal hygiene items, and flashlights. Firearms and alcoholic beverages are forbidden; law enforcement will retain the right to search bags brought into the shelter as a safety precaution. Certain electronic devices, such as televisions and VCRs, will not be allowed inside shelters.
Transportation to the shelters, particularly for the elderly and disabled, is available from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, unless worsening weather conditions necessitate that such services cease. Those with transportation needs should call 910-592-8996 and ask for the transportation coordinator.
Be aware that transportation vans do not travel if sustained wind speeds exceed 45 mpm. Emergency responder vehicles may also be pulled off the roads in significantly high winds. If you need shelter, do not delay.
Those persons with special medical needs should contact the Office of Emergency Management at 910-592-8996 and ask for the special needs sheltering coordinator.
Pets are not allowed in general population shelters. Therefore, the County will operate a pet shelter for dogs or cats belonging to those persons evacuating their residence or seeking refuge in a County shelter. The pet shelter will be located at the Sampson County Livestock Arena, 93 Agriculture Place in Clinton (at the intersection of 421 South and Cecil Odie Road).
Pet owners are responsible for the transportation of their pet(s) to the shelter. Pet owners should bring their pets in a kennel/carrier, and must provide proof of current vaccinations upon registration of pet(s) at the shelter. Animals will not be accepted without proof of vaccination, if they appear to be sick, or if they are exhibiting aggressive behavior. Pet owners may also wish to consider sheltering their pets at animal hospitals, kennels or other safe shelter.
For those who plan to shelter at home, tropical winds and rain may cause power outages, so now is the time to check your 3-day emergency kit that each household should maintain in case of any emergency. Generally, these items include:
• Water – 1 gallon per person per day
’• Water purification kit or bleach
’• First aid kit and first aid book
’• Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant, soup & cereals, etc.
’• Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices
’• Non-electric can opener
’• Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
’• Blanket or sleeping bag per person
’• Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries
’• Flashlight and extra batteries
’• Essential medications
’• Extra pair of eyeglasses
’• Extra house and car keys
’• Fire extinguisher – ABC-type
’• Food, water, leash and carrier for pets
’• Cash and change
’• Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
• Sanitation Supplies
’• Large plastic trash bags for waste, tarps and rain ponchos
’• Large trash cans
’• Bar soap and liquid detergent
’• Toothpaste and toothbrushes
’• Feminine hygiene supplies
’• Toilet paper
’• Household bleach
’• Rubber gloves