Online Originals: $1.3 million grant will allow Duplin County to improve disaster resilience

Online Originals

KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A $1.3 million grant has just been approved as part of a hazard mitigation project in Duplin County.

Duplin County has an ongoing issue with power outages caused by weather. Now with this grant, the county will be able to purchase new emergency generators. 

“These generators will allow us to do more than just turn the lights on,” said Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal for Duplin County Matthew Barwick. 

The generators will be used to help the county store medication and provide residents with shelter, drinking water, and fuel in the event of a power outage. 

“The new generators will be able to power the entire facility, including like air conditioning, outlets, lights, so it’ll be a more comprehensive power source for the facilities,” said County Planning Director and Public Information Officer Elizabeth Stalls. 

Once purchased, the generators will be located at four elementary schools. Beulaville, Kenansville, Rose-Hill Magnolia, and North Duplin. These schools provide shelter in the event of an emergency. 

In a statement to 9OYS, the school board says they’re thankful for this grant.

Duplin County Schools is thankful for this award and the positive impact it will have on our communities during times of disaster. These generators will provide power for our school sites that serve as shelters for our families, making them safer and more comfortable for those that are displaced. Better lighting, functional bathrooms, electrical outlets, air-conditioning or heat, depending on the time of year, are a few examples of the improvements folks can expect.

Roger Jones, Special Advisor for Facilities/Transportation/Operations.

They will also place generators at the county fuel depot, Rose-Hill EMS Station, and three well sites. These generators will help keep emergency vehicles up and running and keep water flowing to the county. 

“It’s going to really enhance our ability to offer comfort level services in emergency shelters but also reduce the cleanup time that’s necessary between power shutdowns,” said Barwick. 

County officials say this has been a lengthy process and they still have quite a bit to go. 

“We aren’t expecting this to be something that will be implemented this year, or possibly next year. But once we have everything in place, it should be able to serve our county for many years to come,” said Stalls. 

The funds come from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, as a direct result of damage from Hurricane Florence in 2018. 

“It really helps us with our disaster preparedness, knowing that we have these resources available to help our citizens and residents in the county have a safe shelter site to go to,” said Stalls.  

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