Be Buncombe Ready: Take Steps Today to be Prepared for Natural and Manmade Disasters
September is Preparedness Month, and there is no better time than right now to get Buncombe Ready for sudden weather-related and manmade events. Buncombe County officials encourage individuals, households, and communities to discuss and plan for natural and manmade disasters. While no two events will be the same, the same basic preparedness actions are the most important steps you can take to stay Buncombe Ready.
Weather-related impacts to Buncombe County typically include flooding and downed trees due to hurricane remnants. Sudden and major flooding can occur unexpectedly along riverbanks and low-lying areas as we experienced during Tropical Storm Fred in 2021. While Buncombe was not affected as significantly as counties like Haywood, more than 450 structures were damaged and recovery work is still underway for those impacted areas in our region.
Being Buncombe Ready includes making a go-kit, having a plan, and creating networks within your community to help look out for each other during natural and manmade events. Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Build a kit that can sustain you and your family for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home. Don’t forget to consider the unique needs of each person or pet should you have to evacuate quickly. Other steps include changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, being up to date on your vaccines, planning for special medical needs and transportation, or having extra food on hand for your pet.
The Ready Campaign’s 2023 National Preparedness Month outreach focuses on preparing older adults for disaster, specifically older adults from communities that are disproportionally impacted by all-hazard events which continue to threaten the nation. Buncombe County has a large older adult population with more than 20% of our community members over the age of 65.
According to the American Red Cross, there are several factors that make older adults more vulnerable after disasters, including, but not limited to:
- a greater likelihood to suffer from chronic conditions and the need for associated medications;
- a greater reliance on assistive devices such as walkers or glasses, as well as support from caregivers and others; and
- an increased likelihood of social isolation.
Being Buncombe Ready also includes preparing for seasonal influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19. We have tools to help reduce risk, test, treat illness, and keep viruses from spreading. Stay up to date with vaccines, seek testing and treatment when needed, wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home if you are sick. The Buncombe County Immunizations Clinic offers two options for getting your immunizations at our facility. First, you can call (828) 250-5096 and make an appointment that fits your schedule. We also offer a wide range of walk-in hours for your convenience. Walk-in hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 8-11:30 a.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday between 1-4:30 p.m. The clinic is located at 40 Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville.
Buncombe Ready also means staying informed of emergency and critical safety messages specific to your area. Sign up for BC Alerts by texting BCAlert (not case sensitive) to 99411 or visit buncombecounty.org/codered to sign up for the BC Alerts. More information on BC Alerts can be found here.
A prepared community is a more resilient community that most often fares better after an emergency. Taking these simple and important steps now can possibly be the difference in some serious long-term health and wellness outcomes. Be Ready. Be Buncombe Ready.