The North Carolina 911 Board has issued a set of guidelines and reminders designed to keep North Carolinians and the state’s first responders safer during Hurricane Florence.
“Our 911 centers, especially those in the southeastern and coastal regions of the state, will be challenged by an increased number of calls during the hurricane,” said Pokey Harris, executive director of the 911 Board. “We need the help of all North Carolinians to ensure that 911 is used only for true emergencies.”
Harris shared some guidelines for people who may need assistance as a result of the storm:
- Do not call 911 unless you have an emergency that is threatening your life or the lives of people around you.
- For anything other than a life-threatening emergency, call 211. Operators will be available at 211 to assist with weather and traffic updates, connect callers to public assistance, and provide other general help.
- First-responders will not monitor social media sites or networks during the hurricane. If you have a life-threatening emergency, do not reach out through social media for assistance. Call 911.
- As the number of calls increase to a specific center, calls may be rerouted to back-up centers outside of your county. This is not unusual in emergencies, and especially common during hurricanes and other weather events. The professionals at the back-up 911 center will be able to assist you quickly and effectively.
- Be patient. First responders are working as quickly as they can. Many of them are volunteers who are stepping into harm’s way to help make others safer. They want nothing more than to try to help as many people as possible.
“911 centers are the heartbeat of safe communities,” said 911 Board chairman, State CIO and DIT Secretary Eric Boyette. “It is imperative that we keep operations running smoothly and we can’t do that without the help of our PSAPs, their managers and the public.”