Greensboro, NC -- Usually when news crews are at the Guilford County Emergency Operations Center, it's because there has been a big storm, or people are without power, and the people who really need to hear and see what is going on at the operations center -- can't.
When something big happens, a member of every organization, police, fire, etc, is in the room so co-ordination can happen better and more quickly. In the "war room" are projector screens showing the latest weather, where emergency/police/fire crews are in the county, and where the latest power outages are.
Don Campbell, of Guilford County Emergency Management, has seen in it all in action many times. He says the Ops Center is filled with a member of each organization/agency that could help you and be impacted from the schools to social services, DOT, etc.
His main focus: what you need to know. The first is use 911 ONLY for emergencies. And by that he means life threatening emergencies. He says whenever a storm comes through or the power goes out the first call people make about a power outage is to 911. He says that ties up the lines for real emergencies. He says if your power is out-- call the power company.
We also asked Duke Energy representatives what tips they wished people knew before the power went out. Spokesman Davis Montgomery offered three tips:
1) If there's an outage, they DO need you to report it! So write down this number or save it in your phone: 1 - 800 - POWER ON. That's 1 -800- 769-3766. Report the outage, and be sure to give your exact location.
2) Montgomery also said to always remember safety. If you see a down power line don't go near it.
3) Take the time, now - while the power's on, and think about the number one thing you can't live without. Once you have it in mind, make a plan for what you'll do in regards to that thing if the power goes out.
WFMY News 2