State of Emergency declared in Union Co.; emergency officials prepare for Ian

The hope is they don’t have to use the equipment this weekend.
Monroe Fire Chief Ron Fowler says they've been preparing since last week -- for the potential of flooding and heavy wind.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 11:21 PM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - With Hurricane Ian expected to make a second landfall Friday along the South Carolina coast, the storm is also expected to bring heavy rain and wind to Union County.

Late Thursday, Union County and the city of Monroe both issued state of emergency declarations.

The declaration, according to the county, “gives the sheriff’s office authority to close roads impacted by flooding and issue citations to motorists who disregard emergency barricades. The declaration also allows the county’s administrative team to increase funding allocated for emergency purposes.”

First responders are ready to go, when called this weekend.

“You plan for the worst and hope for the best,” Monroe Fire Chief Ron Fowler told WBTV. “We feel like we’re as prepared as we can be.”

Fowler says they’ve been preparing since last week for the potential of flooding and heavy wind.

That includes checking equipment.

“Things like chainsaws, those type of things we never know if we’re gonna get trees down or that type of thing,” he said. “Making sure our small equipment is ready, water rescue equipment, you know now that we’re seeing that it’s potentially a very heavy rain in our area.”

Extra staffing will be on hand Friday including a water rescue team.

“We will put our PFD, our dry suits, on our helmets, our gloves, protective boots, and all of that just pretty much helps us stay safe from anything that may be in the water,” said Capt. Charlie Porter. “We carry a large boat, a small boat and a raft. Both have motors up there that you know if we need to get into moving water.”

The hope is they don’t have to use the equipment this weekend.

As always, if you see any flooded roads, turn around.

“Just stress for everyone to be prepared. Be as self-sufficient as you can, you know we really strive to be self-sufficient for those three days...up to 72 hours. Just in case we lose power or lose any of those critical utility services,” Fowler said.

County officials say the Emergency Operations Center will be activated on Friday at 8 a.m. to monitor the impacts of Ian.

Emergency Management, along with Bakers Volunteer Fire Department, is prepared to assist Monroe Fire Department’s swiftwater rescue team, officials said.

Also: Emergency crews gear up as local residents prepare for storms arrival