Dare County's new emergency management coordinator, Drew
Pearson, was the guest on the Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the
Point," on Sunday, June 21.
joined Dare's Emergency Management last
August as deputy to coordinator Sandy Sanderson. He took over the
office when Sanderson retired on March 1 after 20 years in the
He comes to Dare County with 30 years of experience with the U.S. Coast
Guard, most recently as Sector Commander in San Juan, Puerto Rico,
where he led all Coast Guard missions in the eastern Caribbean.
Previously, Pearson had been stationed in Elizabeth
City for more than 10 years and was involved in operations throughout
eastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks. That is, he
says, when he and his family decided this is where they wanted to be
and bought property for his retirement.
Pearson has extensive training and experience in all aspects of
emergency operations, including being a Certified Emergency Manager
through the International Association of Emergency Managers. He
received a Master's Certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster
Management from UNC Chapel Hill and Master's Degrees in Public
Administration and Emergency Management from the American Military
In addition, Pearson has completed a wide range of military and
civilian training courses including the National Response Framework,
the National Incident Management System, the Incident Command System
and many Coast Guard leadership courses. He is rated an airline
transport pilot by the FAA, is a designated Coast Guard aviator and
C-130 flight examiner, and is trained in aircraft accident
investigation, command security and command intelligence.
Dare County Emergency Management serves as the primary coordinating
organization for Dare County in the event of a natural disaster or
emergency incident. The department researches emergency related needs
for all areas of the county and develops and coordinates emergency
response plans. Emergency Management consults with officials of local
and area governments, schools, the hospital, and national organizations
to determine local needs and capabilities in an effort to facilitate
disaster response and crisis management.
In the wide-ranging interview, Pearson discusses how he intends to go
about his job -- communication is key, he says -- and what kind of
emergencies his office must be prepared to handle.
We hear the most from Dare County Emergency Management when a tropical
storm or hurricane is threatening, and Pearson talks directly and at
length on such issues as evacuation and re-entry, which are usually
controversial for many Hatteras islanders.
He also talks about some new storm surge products that are being
introduced by the National Weather Service during this hurricane
season. The new products include more precise information on
storm surge for particular areas, including new graphics. Also
new this year will be storm surge watches and warnings -- in addition
to those for tropical storms and hurricanes.
"To the Point," which is hosted by Island Free Press editor Irene
Nolan, airs on the island's community radio station, FM 101.5 and FM
99.9, at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month. It
is repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on
Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at
Scroll down and click on the "To the Point" logo to listen to the audio
of the interview.
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