County opens two shelters

Published 11:17 am Friday, August 26, 2011

Beaufort County government announced that two emergency shelters would open at 4 p.m. Friday in the Washington area.

The two primary shelters are P.S. Jones Middle School, located at 4105 N. Market Street Extension, and Washington High School, located at 400 Slatestone Road.

“These two shelters provide us with full back-up power supply and pooled resources to sufficiently handle evacuees from these low lying areas in Beaufort County,” Jim Chrisman, interim county manager, said in a news release.

The county ordered a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying, flood-prone areas effective at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Kim Richardson, executive assistant of the Greater Pamlico Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, provided a list of items people should bring to the shelters.

The Red Cross recommends evacuees bring to the shelters at least three days worth of clothing plus essential hygiene products such as baby wipes, a minimum of a three-day supply of medications, and blankets, sleeping bags and pillows.

“All individual shelter residents should report to the shelter with a bedroll or sleeping bag, a pillow, a towel, and personal care items,” reads a news release from county government. “Residents with special needs should report to the shelter with a relative or person who is capable of providing for their care. Employers that provide room and board for individuals who speak English as a second language are encouraged to contact the Beaufort County Emergency Operations Center should they need to make shelter arrangements for employees.”

People who have questions about the shelters may call the Red Cross at 252-946-4110 or the Beaufort County Emergency Operations Center at 252-946-2046.

“I’m planning on staying here as long as possible,” Richardson said in the Red Cross’ offices on Market Street in Washington.

Chrisman explained why officials didn’t open emergency shelters at Northside High School in northeast Beaufort County and Southside High School south of the Pamlico River.

“From a logistical standpoint the shelters at Washington High School and P.S. Jones Middle School are fully equipped and can accommodate up to 750 evacuees at each school with … a full kitchen in both schools,” he said.

Southside and Northside high schools don’t meet all of the shelter criteria, Chrisman related.

“We feel like we’ve given ample notice to residents of the two shelters that are available in Washington,” he said.

As of Friday afternoon it was too early to tell how many residents the shelters might need to serve.