NOTE: This Health, Safety, and Security component is currently being revived and restructured. Read about it below.

Going Forward: Renewed and Revised Village Emergency Response Planning

We are continuing to work with Chatham County Emergency Management, the regional American Red Cross, the FHA Board, the Fearrington Cares Board, and volunteer residents to develop clear plans and procedures for a coordinated village emergency response to meet the needs of residents following a variety of potential emergencies. This planning will involve establishing clear guidelines for the use of The Gathering Place and the Fearrington Cares Building, neither of which has the capacity to serve as either short-term or long-term community shelters. While both buildings do have access to emergency generated electric power during village power interruptions, both buildings could potentially support only limited, very short-term specific use during certain phases of certain village emergencies, and then, only for a few residents who may need it. We will soon complete operational guidelines and response plans and then distribute the information widely to residents.

Chatham County Emergency Management has established facilities and procedures for protracted sheltering at nearby Northwood High School and at the facilities of the Chatham County Council on Aging.

SAFElogoChathamCountyNCNEW as of 2018: What if I need special assistance during emergency sheltering at a center or at home, or if I am unable to drive myself to a shelter because of my physical condition?  Chatham County has established a new voluntary Disaster Access and Functional Needs (formerly called fragile populations or special needs) Registry, which allows residents to securely register the nature of their special assistance needs and to do so before a disaster strikes. This database helps the emergency services to check-in with registered residents and to provide transportation to the designated long-term shelter for such residents who may need a ride to get there. This database will also help the emergency services to check-in with registered residents and to provide transportation to the designated long-term shelter for residents who may need a ride to get there. Complete details on this new service and how to register are available HERE.

Emergency-Related FAQs

  • What should I do if I'm told to evacuate? In most cases, you are given instructions at the time of the evacuation orders. These instructions may be to carry certain things to a shelter with you or in some cases (such as a hazardous material leak), you may be told to leave immediately. It is extremely important that you follow directions at the time you are told to evacuate. You should be told where to go and how to get there. In some cases you may be able to drive your car; if you have special needs and need transportation to the designated emergency shelter, contact Chatham County Emergency Management at 919-542-2811.

  • How do people get the word? By automated calls from the County Emergency Management Department via CodeRED. Also, listen to the radio for further directions concerning shelter openings:  WCHL-AM (1360), WCHL-FM (97.9), WDCG-FM (105.1), WRAL-FM (101.5), WYMY-FM (La Ley 101.1 in Spanish).

  • How will I know what roads are impassable? Listen to the public media. Most media outlets work with the Department of Transportation to give road condition reports. Do not call 9-1-1 because they do not have the information readily available. 9-1-1 deals only with local roads for emergency response purposes.
  • Can my household pet(s) come with me to the county-established emergency shelter?  Service animals for the hearing and visually impaired will be allowed in the shelter. All other animals are welcome at the shelter and Animal Services Staff will be on hand to board pets at the shelter site in the best manner possible.
  • What should I do if told to shelter in place? Shelter in place means that you are to stay where you are until advised to do otherwise. This could be at home, an office, at school or somewhere public. One of the best descriptions of sheltering in place and the considerations for sheltering in place at home during a storm is at the Ready North Carolina website.
  • How long will my refrigerated and frozen food last after a protracted power shortage? This depends on the type freezer you have (whether upright or chest type). To be safe, consult this excellent FDA GUIDE OF WHEN TO SAVE FOOD AND WHEN TO THROW IT OUT following a protracted power outage.
  • Where can I get food and/or water? You should have enough food and water on hand for your family for 72-hours as part of your preparedness. When disasters last longer, disaster control authorities will be bringing in water and setting up food stations. People in the affected areas will be informed as to the location of these two distribution places. For more preparedness suggestions, see our on-line Emergency Preparedness page. That same content can be found on pages 5 and 6 in the 2018 edition of the FHA printed Directory and Handbook.

IMPORTANT: For any village-based emergency response to be effective, we urge all residents to return the completed Voluntary Emergency Information Registration Form (choose one format below). If there have been recent changes in your household regarding the needs and capabilities of any resident(s), be sure to complete and turn in a new form so the content will be up to date!

    • Voluntary Emergency Information Registration (Used to register needs and capabilities of residents during emergency conditions. Fill in Online.)
    • Voluntary Emergency Information Registration (Used to register needs and capabilities of residents during emergency conditions. Print and fill in by hand.)
    • Also see the information about the FILE OF LIFE, which we encourage ALL residents to have on the regrigerator for easy access by EMT responders. The magnetic FILE OF LIFE envelope and the information card insert is available FREE of charge at the FHA office during business hours. 

Tornado Advisory from FEMA on Reinforcing Garage Doors -- Why It's Important to Reinforce Overhead Garage Doors to protect your roof from severe wind storms, and how it can be done. Backgrounder on Preparing for a Tornado.

History: The History of Fearrington Village CERT

The Fearrington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program was developed in 1985 to prepare citizens to help themselves and their neighbors during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. CERT volunteers received 20 hours of basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills that could improve the chances for citizens to survive until professional responders or other assistance arrived. The national CERT program is operated under the guidance of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and Homeland Security.

In the past, sixty-four volunteer residents of Fearrington Village completed the 20 hour CERT training program and met regularly to practice skills. The CERT volunteers were trained to canvass their neighborhoods, extinguish small fires, shut-off outside gas/water valves to damaged houses, perform light search and rescue operations, render basic first-aid, assist in opening a shelter, and direct residents who came forward to assist. The CERT program pledge is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. After a disaster, the CERT volunteers are trained to first take care of their family and immediate neighborhood and then report to an Emergency Operations Center, which was planned to be located at the Fearrington Cares building, for assignment with other Village CERT Teams.

History: The Interruption of Fearrington CERT and Rebirthing

The Citizen Corps Program, then-based in Sanford, NC, served Chatham County by providing education and training to help community volunteers be better prepared to respond to threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters. They trained citizens to perform light search and rescue operations, render basic first-aid, assist in opening a shelter, and direct residents who came forward to assist. 

When the Chatham County-based Citizen Corps Program lost its funding in 2010-2011, their service capacity was shifted to another entity in Orange County, after which the systematic formal training ended in Chatham County and here in Fearrington Village. A formal CERT program cannot exist without on-going proper training.