N.C. Cooperative Extension is ‘go-to’ agency for disaster information

N.C. Cooperative Extension has a long history of helping citizens prepare for and recover from natural disasters. And recently the organization was recognized as one of five go-to extension organizations when it comes to disaster preparation.

Dr. Mike Yoder, emergency programs coordinator for N.C. Cooperative Extension, says the organization provides training and resources to help North Carolina weather any storm.

As a member of the State Emergency Response Team, Yoder is involved with state preparation before and recovery needs after a predictable natural disaster. Yoder also serves on the State Agricultural Response Team and the Drought Monitor team.

In addition, Cooperative Extension is part of the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), an organization representing Extension educators who specialize in disaster preparedness and recovery. Nine Extension employees in North Carolina are designated as delegates to EDEN.

In addition, Extension specialists, include Sarah Kirby and Ben Chapman of family and consumer science contribute timely updates on issues like cleaning up and maintaining food safety after a natural disaster.

N.C. Cooperative Extension offers EDEN training programs to help communities and businesses become disaster-prepared. One program is S-CAP, Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Planning.

Developed by EDEN, S-CAP workshops help county leaders develop plans for agriculture in preparation for a disaster or emergency. The workshops empower local Extension personnel and other community partners to:

  • build capacity to handle agricultural issues during an emergency or disaster;
  • improve networking among stakeholders who can plan for and respond to emergencies; and
  • develop Community Agrosecurity Planning (CAP) teams to establish or enhance agrosecurity components within existing local emergency operations plans.

In addition, a number of Cooperative Extension and Industrial Extension Service professionals have been trained to offer Ready Business workshops to help North Carolina small businesses prepare for disaster.

Statistics show that most businesses that close after a disaster won’t be open a year later.  From backing up critical records to understanding insurance needs, Ready Business walks business owners through the steps of creating a disaster recovery plan.

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s disaster web page – ncdisaster.com — offers information and resources on preparing for and recovering from natural disasters. When natural disasters are predicted, or after one has occurred, Extension will update this page with timely information. Scott McCollum in Extension Information Technology and Natalie Hampton and Dee Shore in CALS Communications help provide updates to the disaster site and share information with county staffs and news media.

For information from a local county center, visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/counties.

-N. Hampton

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