Helen called 2-1-1 wanting to make sure that someone knew that she was wheelchair bound, living alone and in a floodplain. She wanted to know who could help her if flooding began.
Carlos called looking for help at his mother's house. Every time it rained, raw sewage spilled into her yard. He didn't know who to call for help.
Lena was running out of food and was afraid that if the bridge went out she'd be stuck without anything for her children. She wanted to know if there was a food pantry nearby.
In early October, on the heels of weeks of rain, we were predicted to get even more with major storms heading toward the southeast. WLOS ABC 13 meteorologist Jason Boyer said at the time, "In short, moisture from a cold front that moves through today will likely begin to spread and intensify rainfall across the region starting tomorrow. As more and more model data comes in, the potential for a devastating flood event for Western North Carolina is growing."
Hurricane Joaquin brought another round of rain on top out-of-the-ordinary week we had already experienced. Those who live near a creek, stream, or river, prepared for flooding. And everyone, regardless of where they live, prepared for downed trees, flash flooding, and power outages. NC 2-1-1's phone lines and website will be operating 24/7 just like every day of the year.
Preparing for the weather at 2-1-1
As we enter the month of November, we find our region facing another round of flood warnings. When weather is expected to become severe - be it extreme rain, snow, cold or heat, our 2-1-1 staff ready themselves for the possibility of increased calls from the community and the possiblity they will need to play a supportive role with local emergency management teams.
Amanda Bauman, 2-1-1 assistant manager, says, "Preparing our staff to support our 16 county service region, and provide backup to our sister call center that serves the rest of the state, takes good communication and coordination. Internally we develop care plans for our staff to ensure that we maintain full phone coverage. We also work closely with local emergency management teams across our region to ensure we are providing the latest and most accurate information for people calling in. It can be hectic, but being able to help people like Helen, Carlos and Lena is critical."
Good numbers to have
To report a power outage in Buncombe County, call one of the numbers listed below.
- Duke Progress: (800) 419-6356
- French Broad Electric: (828) 649-2051
- Haywood Electric EMC: (828) 452-2281
Dial 2-1-1 from any phone for information about temporary shelters, places for food and water, or finding a free or low-cost place to shower. Make sure your phone is fully-charged in the event of a power outage. It's also a good idea to check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs. Visit FEMA's website for basic saftey tips and what to do before, during, and after a power outage.
About NC 2-1-1
Wouldn't it be great if there was one place to call when you needed help? United Way thinks so. That’s why we run the NC 2-1-1 Asheville Call Center. When you need help or information for yourself, your family or someone you know all you need to do is dial 2-1-1 or visit NC211.org to get connected. Dial 2-1-1, it’s FREE, 24/7, and available in all languages. Our NC 2-1-1 staff don’t just stay in the office, waiting for people to call. They also take the time to head out into the community, attending service fairs and conducting trainings to ensure that as many people as possible know how we can help.