Qualla Boundary Civil Preparedness meeting held

by Mar 1, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – The local Planning Committee Quarterly Meeting was held at the Shawn Blanton EOC Building on Tuesday, Feb. 27. The meeting was conducted by Mollie Grant, from EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Emergency Services, and Yona Wade, EBCI interim director of training and development.

Several programs attended the meeting including EBCI Facilities, Cherokee Fire Dept., Cherokee Indian Police Dept., EBCI Emergency Medical Services, Cherokee Central Schools, the Principal Chief’s office, Cherokee Community Club Council, EBCI Parks and Recreation, and the EBCI Agricultural Extension Office.

It was noted that, as of Jan. 19, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Local Emergency Planning Committee had been reviewed and declared active, along with many North Carolina County committees by the NC Department of Public Safety.

Grant and Brett Robinson gave an update on the outdoor warning siren system, stating that they are installed and active. Robinson spoke more directly to the Cherokee Central Schools participation. A test of the system is planned for the March 6 (9:30 a.m.) statewide tornado drill and as part of the statewide Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 3-9.

According to a release from the National Weather Service-Greenville-Spartanburg Forecast Office, “Every school, business, workplace, and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in this drill.”

NOAA Weather Radio will broadcast the drill and will be part of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) protocol via the Required Monthly Test (RMT) for the tornado drill. No actual Tornado Warning will be issued. Not all weather radios will operate the same as refinements have been made to the units over the years, so it is recommended to turn your NOAA radio on so that when the messaging comes through, you will be able to participate in the drill. This drill will take the place of the weekly radio test that would typically occur that day between 11 a.m. and noon.

If there is actual severe weather on March 6, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed. Should the drill have to be postponed, the alternate date for the drill is Friday, March 8 at 9:30 a.m.

Grant also gave updates on her attendance at the FEMA Regional Interagency Steering Committee Meeting.

Wade recognized each entity represented in the room to get any updates from those departments. Lyndsey Henderson, from EBCI Public Health and Human Services, also discussed emergency service coordination and planning, reviewing a calendar of events. Jae Winchester spoke on behalf of Cherokee Central Schools, particularly concerning getting information materials out about the drill.

The primary focus of the meeting was planning and information release about the Severe Weather Preparedness week and statewide Tornado Drill. Each day of the week will have a particular focus. Sunday will be an overview of the week. Monday will be focused on severe thunderstorms and tornados. Tuesday’s focus will be ways to receive severe weather alerts, and information about the Statewide Tornado Drill. Wednesday will center on staying safe when high winds, hail, and tornados strike. Thursday lightning safety will be the central concern. Friday will focus on flash flood safety. And Saturday will be an encouragement to make a plan and encouraging others to do the same.