Will Brunswick County cut off my water? If so, when?
Brunswick County will only cut off water to a community if the Mayor of that community declares a mandatory evacuation. Even then, Brunswick County Public Utilities will not completely turn off water until such time as it is unsafe for staff to remain at these locations. If a less intense storm is anticipated, it may only be necessary to limit the flow to beach communities while still maintaining a minimum pressure. Any such decision is made jointly with officials in that town, based on storm decisions as they occur. Our goal is to maintain water availability throughout the storm, only shutting off water service to vulnerable beach communities well after a mandatory evacuation is declared in order to protect the integrity of the system in and effort to maintain both fire protection and potable (drinkable) water supplies.
If I evacuate, should I turn off my water?
Shutting off water to individual houses, especially those on the ocean front, may provide some level of protection if plumbing pipes are damaged during the storm. However, care should be taken when this is done. Some household appliances, such as water heaters, require water to operate properly and may be damaged if left powered on without a water supply. Therefore, homeowners should consider powering off (shutting off appropriate breakers) if they choose to turn off the water at their house. The homeowner should use their home’s private shut-off valve to the plumbing system to turn the water off; County equipment and valves in the meter box should not be tampered with. There is electronic equipment in the meter box that may easily be damaged by unauthorized personnel. It is worth noting that if a storm dictates that a mandatory evacuation be proclaimed for a community, Brunswick County will either limit the pressure of shut off the water to the community immediately after the storms impact.
Will my grinder tank fill up during a storm?
This is very unlikely. A typical grinder tank installed by Brunswick County has over 360 gallons of capacity above the point that the alarm comes on. Most single-family residential houses use much less water than that during a typical day when showers, washers, dishwashers, etc. are being used. During a storm where power is lost, water usage is reduced considerably. Usually showers, washers, dishwashers, etc. are not used when the power is out, thus extending the time it takes to fill the grinder tank.
What if the power stays out for an extended period after a storm?
In the event of an extended time period without power, Brunswick County has the ability to use vacuum excavation trucks to empty the grinder tank. In the case of a significant storm event requiring mandatory evacuation, it is expected that water usage will be minimal.
What if I use a generator?
If you use a generator capable of running high water usage appliances, it is recommended that you also power the breaker(s) to your grinder pump stations. If the generator is capable and wired to energize the entire house, then the grinder pump will work as normal.
Will my grinder pump “dead head” (be incapable of pumping) due to high pressures in the system during a storm?
This is very unlikely. Typically, Brunswick County grinder pumps are part of a low-pressure system designed to have other similar sized grinder pumps connected to the system. It is rare that a pump is not capable of pumping due to high pressure in a low-pressure collection system. However, if this occurs, as pumps turn off in the system upon emptying their basins, any pumps that are “dead heading” will eventually begin to pump down.
What do I do with my storm debris – and when?
Damage assessments play a critical role in how local governments respond to and recover from events. While everyone’s first response is to start the cleanup, these assessments are important in determining the needs of our community as a whole. For the county to get an accurate idea of the amount of damage that is storm related, we ask that you hold your debris while keeping categories including vegetative debris, construction and demolition debris, electronics, household trash, appliances and metal, household hazardous waste, etc. North Carolina has several landfill bans in place for many of these items. Having the items separated is key in making sure we uphold the law and safety of all our emergency responders. If you do decide to haul your storm related debris to the landfill prior to the assessments, normal tipping fees and long lines are likely.
What to pack in an emergency go-bag
FEMA suggests packing the following items:
- One gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if you are including canned food
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle, to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape, for sheltering in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation needs
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Other items to include:
- Prescription medication, contact lenses, and prescription glasses
- Important documents in a waterproof container: birth certificates, identification, insurance information, bank account information, immunization records, and any other documents you might need
- Diapers and infant formula for babies
- Toys and games for older children
- Sleeping bag and/or warm blanket/emergency blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing for each person, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy shoes
- Hats to keep head and neck protected from sun/rain
- Water purification tablets
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches or a lighter, in a waterproof container
- Personal hygiene items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, tampons or pads, soap, shampoo, etc.
- Paper cups/plates, plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Chargers for electronic devices, backup cell phone if owned, digital backup of photos and videos of personal property
Emergency Kit For The Car
In case you are stranded, keep an emergency car kit in your car with the addition of these automobile extras:
- Jumper cables
- Flares or reflective triangle
- Car cell phone charger
- Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
Vehicle Safety Tips
- Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages.
- Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
- If there is an explosion or other factor that makes it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
- If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards
Prepare Your Vehicle for Emergencies
Have a mechanic check the following on your vehicle prior to an emergency:
- Antifreeze levels
- Battery and ignition system
- Exhaust system
- Fuel and air filters
- Heater and defroster
- Lights and flashing hazard lights
- Windshield wiper equipment and washer fluid level