Grant Will Help Those With Special Needs Prepare For Disasters

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.  This grant, in the amount of $10,000, will be used to build disaster preparedness kits for citizens listed on the Special Needs Registry.

Disaster preparedness kits are a collection of items to have on hand, should a disaster or emergency occur that prevents the ability for normal 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.

JCPH“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,” says David Hesselmeyer, preparedness coordinator with the Health Department.

Local agencies such as the Johnston County Health Department, Johnston County Emergency Services, Johnston County Department of Social Services, Johnston County Community and Senior Services and Johnston Health Systems suggest everyone have a preparedness kit.  These 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,” explains 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.  When registrants pick up their kit, they will have the opportunity to talk with members of the Special Needs Task Force.  A date for this will be announced very shortly.

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

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