BREAKING NEWS: County to request National Guard aid during winter storm

By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

February 13, 2014

Just after the snow began falling on Wednesday afternoon, Yadkin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Austin signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency.

In a release from the Yadkin County Manager’s office, officials said, “It’s important for the citizens to know, especially seniors and disabled, that the county stands prepared for nights like tonight. A lot of seniors carry a tremendous amount of worry and fear of loosing power or not being able to receive emergency medical care during serious winter storms.”

The Yadkin County Emergency Operation Center will be in full operation throughout the storm, said Keith Vestal, director of Emergency Services.

According to the press release, there are four base stations staffed with two paramedics in addition to the director, major, captain and fire marshal with more than seven vehicles prepared for deployment. Fire departments and the rescue squad continue to have personnel at their stations on standby.

With the aid of the State and the American Red Cross, an emergency shelter has been set up at Jonesville Elementary School for those without power or stranded motorists. Vestal said one person had to use the shelter overnight, and five people stranded on Highway 421 were being transported to the shelter around 11:45 a.m. on Thursday.

Power outages have yet to be a problem in the area, but the current band of heavy snowfall that is coating trees and power lines has officials concerned.

“We were really OK last night, but this last band of snow coming through could cause problems,” Vestal said.

The continued snowfall also is causing further problems on the road, and while Vestal said most folks were heeding the warnings and staying off the roads, the conditions were difficult for emergency vehicles.

Vestal has requested a military Humvee from the National Guard to help transport stranded motorists or patients that need medical attention.

Yadkin County officials continue to stress safety for county residents and to stay inside and off the roads.

Last night’s press release from County Manager Aaron Church said, “There are hundreds of paid employees and volunteers awake and working tonight to make sure the most vulnerable are in good hands. A lot of these dedicated public safety officers have been planning for the last 24 hours and will continue working for the following 48 plus hours. These include, the deputies under the leadership of Sheriff Ricky Oliver, police officers, Highway Patrol, Fire and Rescue, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Soil and Water, Parks and Recreation and NCDOT employees.”

Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.