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.
Pearson 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 job.
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 University.
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 www.radiohatteras.org.
Scroll down and click on the “To the Point” logo to listen to the audio of the interview.
MORE ABOUT RADIO HATTERAS
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It broadcasts around the clock with news — including such things as surfing and fishing reports — community announcements, music, and special programs. The station is also now streamed live. To listen, go to www.radiohatteras.org.
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Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.
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