Did You Know… Jones County Has CART
Did you know the official hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30? That’s half of the entire year we may have favorable conditions for a hurricane. With hurricane season fast approaching, plus Hurricane Irene back in 2011, we have realized just how important it is to have a plan in place and volunteers ready to go at a moments notice. So, what does that mean for you? That means you need to have a plan and not just for you, but for your pets and your livestock. Have you thought about what you would do if a category five hurricane turned our way at the last minute?
In Jones and Craven counties, there is a plan created by the CART – County Animal Response Team. This team is made up of individuals that have key skills to offer in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Team members include veterinarians, animal shelter supervisors, emergency management, Cooperative Extension and volunteers. That’s where you come in! We need volunteers to help run the shelter if we were to open it after a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a tornado, or a flood.
At the end of August 2011, Hurricane Irene descended upon eastern North Carolina. We knew she was going to hit hard at the coast. We decided to push forward with our CART plan and open the animal shelter as a part of the human shelter – a co-location shelter. We had several people bring their dogs with them before the storm. We registered them and housed the animals in a separate part of the building in their crates with food and water. Just as we thought the storm was passing over, we started to hear a terrible sound within the building. We looked outside and noticed hundreds of small pieces of insulation blowing all around in front of the building. It was then that we heard the roof blow off of the building where the animals were. As it turns out, we were able to safely move all of the animals to another building, as well as we had to relocate our human shelter. As you can imagine, the people and animals that attended this shelter came from homes that would not have faired even as well as the Civic Center did (where the shelter was located). It is important for your county to have a plan in place, and volunteers available, as well as have a good working relationship with local government, especially the Department of Social Services and the local Red Cross, who will be in charge of opening a shelter once given the authority to do so. Currently, the Civic Center has been completely fixed and will continue to serve as our co-location shelter in the event we have a natural disaster and need to open a shelter.
If you would like to become a volunteer but do not have a lot of prior animal experience, we will train you. The CARTs members have already planned training dates to work with you and show you the locations of the shelters so you will be familiar with them before the event of a disaster. If you have any of the following skills, please let us know: small animal technician / assistant, recordkeeping, computer skills, animal handling, animal care as well as large animal experience such as cattle handling and horse care.
If you would like to be put on the volunteer list for Jones or Craven County, please contact N.C. Cooperative Extension and speak with Livestock Agent Margaret Bell at (252) 448.9621 or (252) 633-1477. She will gather your contact information and the best way to contact you if you are needed for the shelter. In Jones County, the shelter location is at the Civic Center located on Highway 58 South.
North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
This article is scheduled to be published in the Jones Post newspaper on May 2, 2013 and was compiled by Margaret A. Bell, Livestock Agent – Craven & Jones Counties.