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Chatham County Public Health Department to Conduct Community Health Survey March 12-15

To identify and respond to the health needs of residents, the Chatham County Public Health Department is partnering with a number of local organizations, including Chatham Hospital, Partnership for Children, Hispanic Liaison, FVRC, Council on Aging, and many others, to conduct a Community Health Assessment. The assessment will include a health opinion survey of approximately 210 residents across the county. Between March 12th and March 15th (10:00am to 6:00PM each day), surveyors will be conducting randomly selected door-to-door surveys to get resident’s opinions on the most pressing health needs in the community. Survey participants will be asked questions on a variety of community health topics, including nutrition, chronic disease, and access to health care.

Since only a little over 200 county residents will be seleted for this county survey, it is unlikely that many Ferringtonians will be visited by a vounteer from this project; however, in case you are visited, please note that the individuals conducting the survey will from different groups and organizations and they will not be dressed alike nor will their badges be a standard such as size, color, etc. The individuals presenting the survey have been instructed by the Health Department to identify themselves and follow a specific protocol. If you encounter these individuals treat them in the same way you would treat any other stranger that comes to your home, ask for ID, participate in survey if you like, and do not let them in your home (they have been advised not to enter anyone’s home). For more information on the Community Health Assessment, contact Mike Zelek at or visit

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An assembly occupancy is defined by the National Fire Protection Association as "An occupancy used for a gathering of 50 or more persons for deliberation, worship, entertainment, eating, drinking, amusement, awaiting transportation or similar uses."

Since many people enjoy going out, they encounter assembly occupancies on a regular basis. This could include going to a school play, attending a church service, dining at a favorite restaurant or watching a band at a nightclub with friends. In these cases, how often do our community members take the time to stop and consider:

Where Are The Exits?

  • How would I get out of here in a fire?
  • Are there enough exits for all of these people?
  • If they are like most people, the answer is not often enough.

History of Tragedy

Each year, there are tragic news reports of fire and non-fire events in assembly occupancies with shocking death and injury tolls. Some recent incidents include:

  • Fire in the KISS nightclub in Brazil, on Jan. 28, killing 233.
  • Fire in the Cromagnon Republic nightclub, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 30, 2004, killing 180.
  • Fire in the Ycuá Bolaños Botánico Supermarket, Asunción, Paraguay, Aug. 1, 2004, killing 400.
  • Fire in The Station Nightclub, West Warwick, R.I., Feb. 20, 2003, killing 100.
  • Panic evacuation in the E2 Nightclub, Chicago, Feb. 17, 2003, killing 21.

As you can see, the issue of emergency exiting of public assembly occupancies is not unique to the United States. Here are six suggestions that can be easily performed and help your residents decide if the building may be safe.

Six Steps

  1. Note the location of emergency exits when they enter a building and ensure that there is an adequate number. If the place has only one way in and out, use it at once.
  2. Ensure that exits are accessible and not locked or blocked. A business owner that allows an exit to be locked or blocked does not deserve anyone's business.
  3. See if the building has emergency lighting. If they think the room is dark during the performance, wait until the lights go out in an emergency.
  4. Gauge the size of the crowd. If the place is packed, they may want to go somewhere else — restroom lines alone can be hazardous.
  5. Be aware of their surroundings. Many assembly occupancies have dim lighting, and in a fire or power failure, it is a good idea to know where they are.
  6. Watch the alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills, which can endanger one's ability to get out of a building in an emergency.

The few minutes needed to scan the building are well worth the time and effort. No one ever heads out thinking tragedy may lie just ahead.

Those who make plans in advance are much better prepared than those who do not. Share these thoughts with your family and neighbors.


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FHA.hss.logo.smThis page is a repository for information, recent announcements, and occasional bulletins related to the Fearrington Village Community Watch Program.

Visit Our Section on Being Safe On-Line.

Important Information for Reducing Safety Risks in Public Assembly Gatherings.

ON-GOING ALERT: BE AWARE -- Door to Door Solicitation -- Protect Yourself:  A Health, Safety, and Security Committee & Community Watch Advisory

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

Be sure to complete and turn in the (voluntary) FHA Emergency Information Registration Form (hot-linked just below). This information is a vital resource in case of an emergency.

Community Watch In Fearrington Village

Community watchThe Fearrington Village Home Owners Association (FHA) currently has many of the components of a modern safe community program already in effect and is now beginning the process of updating, reorganizing, and, in some instances, adding to those components to create a more unified and improved program to further improve the quality of life in the community.

The FHA continues to enjoy a close working relationship with the Chatham County Sheriff's Department, whose officers continue to contribute much time, professional knowledge, and advice in all the planning and implementation of many facets of ensuring the health, safety, and security of our community. We deeply appreciate this excellent partnership.

Community Watch Officers with the Sheriff's Office

Lt. Phillip Richard
Community Service Lieutenant/Special Services
Office: 919-545-8143
Cell: 919-548-2398
Fax: 919-542=1215

Jonathan (JT) Thomas, Community Service Officer
Office: 919-545-8128
Cell: 919-328-0270
Fax: 919-542-1215

For examples of specific Community Watch program components, which are part of the national model, see the list below. Items in blue text below are linked to existing aspects of those programs here in Fearrington Village and/or in Chatham County. In the coming weeks and months, the FHA Health, Safety, and Security Committee and its other subcommittees (Community Emergency Response Team/CERT, and Road Safety) will be working together to improve the integration and implementation of these important interrelated initiatives and programs.

While ours is not a crime-ridden neighborhood, we are not immune from the risk and we all need to be vigilant. While rare, there have been several prior home burglaries (when leaving your home, you should lock your doors, close any open ground floor and garage windows and close/lock your garage doors). There have also been several incidents of items taken from unlocked vehicles in driveways (always lock vehicles when left outside and don't leave valuables inside the vehicle), and several years ago prior incidents of vandalism at the Swim and Croquet Club. The Chatham County Sheriff's Department does patrol our village, but Chatham County is very large.

The Community Watch program is an attempt both to ensure that, as neighbors, we look out for one another and to let any potential criminals know that someone is watching out for them. It is an extension of the strong sense of community that distinguishes Fearrington Village.

Be sure to complete and turn in the (voluntary) FHA Emergency Information Registration Form. This information is a vital resource in case of an emergency. See the hot-links for these forms at the top of this page. 

Common sense things to remember if you are going to be away: Let the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office know and have your house put on house checks. (Call 919-542-2811 to do so); let your neighbor’s know and ask them to be an extra set of eyes on your homes; if you are going to be gone for an extended time either stop your newspaper delivery or have a neighbor pick the papers up for you; if you have a house alarm, let your alarm company know you will be away and have a secondary key holder available.

When to Call 911 and When Not to Call 911

Calling 911 is an important communications tool for emergencies. However, some citizens call 911 in non-emergency situations. This can cause the dispatch operator to miss a call of a person needing help. It is important to understand when to call and when not to call 911.

greenWhen To Call 911

  • Medical emergency (examples: chest pain, extreme shortness of breath, uncontrolled bleeding).

  • Motor vehicle accident.

  • Fire.

  • When a life is in danger.

redWhen Not to Call

  • The power is off.

  • Asking for directions to the hospital.

  • Asking for telephone numbers of others.

  • Requesting to speak with a particular officer.

  • Inquiring as to the time and day.

  • Inquiring about community activities and locations.

For more information about when to call and when not to call, please contact (919) 542-2811, the non-emergency number for our 911 service, and ask if someone can discuss the topic with you.

Be Proactive To Help Recover Lost or Stolen Merchandise

Be proactive before anything you lose valuable items (especially electronic equipment such as TVs, computers, Tablets, Smart Speakers, etc.) or in case such items are stolen from your home or auto. Here's a Personal Property Inventory Form provided by the Sheriff's Department for your convenience.

Make sure to keep a list of your valuables. Include the name of the items, model number, serial number, and manufacturer's name. Use your phone or a camera to take a picture of these items AS WELL a photo OF THE SERIAL NUMBERS (if any) of each item. Keep the packing boxes the items came in -- many boxes have the serial number printed on them.

This specific information will increase the likelihood of the police being able to recover your item(s). You will need such information at hand to be able to document your ownership both for recovery purposes and for documenting your insurance claim. In short, you need evidence and should record it before the goods are lost or stolen, when it's then too late.

Consider also recording such documentation on an inexpensive thumb drive or flash drive, which you could easily and quickly hand over to the police to make their investigation easier and faster. Remember the longer you wait to file a report and reporting it without documentation, the harder it is to recover your property.

You might also want to consider reaching out to the pawn shops, thrift stores and second-hand retailers in the area. Introduce yourself ask for the General Manager and explain what has happened, give them a detailed list of what has been stolen and the contact info for the detective working your case. Be sure to include as much detail, including serial numbers, as possible and send pictures if you have them.

Examples of Basic Crime Prevention Strategies and Programs

Examples of Emergency Preparedness Strategies and Programs

Examples of Building Stronger, Safer Community

  • Education on personal safety about the home and out and about
  • Considering lighting and emergency indicators
  • Safety & Security On-Line (educating neighbors about on-line fraud, phishing, ID theft, etc.)
  • Checking on people who live alone
  • Safety for hearing impaired persons
  • Considering traffic safety issues in the community

Strategies for Improving Community Watch

  • Working to incorporate Block Captains
  • Organizing a Celebration of Safe Communities (as part of a national program each October)
  • Recognizing volunteers who have helped to build safer communities


For questions, comments, or suggestions related to Fearrington Community Watch and/or our Community Watch web content, please feel free to use this easy on-line form. We value your feedback.



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All About CodeRED Emergency Notification

Read About Chatham County's Emergency Notification Direct to Your Home Phone and/or Cell Phone

What is CodeRED?

Chatham County has contracted with Emergency Communications Network, Inc., of Ormond Beach, Florida, for its “CodeRED” high-speed telephone emergency notification services. The CodeRED system gives county officials the ability to deliver prerecorded emergency high-speed telephone notification / information messages to targeted areas or to the entire county at a rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour. This is essentially a reverse 911 system, which can only be activated by designated Chatham county Emergency Management officials, and which is only used for rapid emergency notifications. NEW: Beginning on July 01, 2015, Chatham County will start to use the CodeRED system to issue severe weather alerts. This service will be especially important for those who do not have a smartphone for weather apps.

What Kinds of Emergencies?

The County uses CodeRED to alert residents and businesses of public emergencies or to provide disaster-related information, such as evacuation notices, boil water notices, bio-terriorism events, and severe weather alerts, starting on July 01, 2015. When it is activated, you will receive a clear prerecorded message over your telephone or cell phone. 

How Else Can I Get Alerts About Dangerous & Severe Weather Conditions?

WRALWeatherAlertAPP In April 2013, WRAL-TV released their totally FREE Weather Alert apps for smartphones. You can download the iPhone version or the Android version. You will receive critical weather alerts via voice and push notifications on your smartphone from WRAL and Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. Your smartphone will “wake up” with alerts and also track your location to warn you wherever you go. Listen to local weather forecasts while you are on the move. Enjoy the power of a NOAA Weather Radio, with all the convenience and precision of a smart phone. GENERAL FEATURES include: 

    • Precise Location Alerts. This app ensures you receive an alert only if your device or saved locations fall inside a watch/warning box. That means you aren’t disturbed by alarms not relevant to your location.
    • Control: You also have complete control over what types of alerts you receive through your app. Pick just the type of alerts you want from a list.
    • Follow Me: Follow me is a critical feature if you are on the go. This app will alert you if you are driving in an area when a watch/warning is issued, without you having to do anything.
    • Battery Management: This app uses iOS Location Services to strike a balance between location accuracy and battery usage.
    • Audio: This app provides audio alerts in the form of beeps followed by a brief description of the alert type

Other Weather Alert Options: For weather-related alerts and warnings, the County advises residents and businesses to rely on weather alert radios tuned to the National Weather Service (NWS) frequencies, weather coverage on commercial radio and television news and weather programs, and on phone, email, or text messaging weather alert services. Some such services are available free (such as phone and text message alerts from The Weather Channel); however, most are fee-based services, such as the popular $8.00/year phone alert subscription from WRAL-TV's WEATHER CALL, which is based on doppler radar reports and can reference conditions in your own immediate neighborhood.

Do I Need to Register for CodeRED?

The CodeRED administrator for Chatham County has informed us that if you have landline phone service from a telephone company serving this area, you will be automatically enrolled in the CodeRED system. If, for some reason, you do not wish to be enrolled, you must opt-out by completing, signing, and returning this CodeRED Do Not Call Release Form. If you are unsure whether you are properly registered, click on the large Notification Enrollment banner below and see if you are recognized. If you are not recognized, then create a new registration.

If you have a cell phone and wish to include that number to be notified, your cell number will not be automatically registered in this system. You must register cell numbers yourself. Required information includes first and last name, street address, city, state, zip code, and primary phone number. You must provide your actual street address; do not enter Fearrington Post addresses. To register, click on the large Notification Enrollment banner below.

If your phone service is either pure VoIP or Cable VoIP, your phone number will not be automatically registered in this system.You must register VoIP and cable service phone numbers yourself. Required information includes first and last name, street address, city, state, zip code, and primary phone number. You must provide your actual street address; do not enter Fearrington Post addresses.To register, click on the large Notification Enrollment banner below.

This phone system is only as good as the telephone database supporting it. In other words, if your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called. The CodeRED system not only offers faster calling rates and improved message delivery, it also gives individuals and businesses the ability to add and/or to update their own phone numbers directly to the system’s telephone database. Emergency Operations Director Janet Scott emphasizes that this is an extremely important feature. If you register yourself, you must provide your actual street address; do not enter Fearrington Post addresses.


Register for CodeRED by clicking on this logo.


We understand that the County CodeRED system was first activated about three years ago when a Fearrington resident turned up missing after setting out for a walk from his home to the Pool & Croquet mail kiosk and back. A number of the CERT members who had received the call organized to help find him. He was found -- he had become disoriented and had gone into the woods, fell in the creek and was unable to get up.

Recently, it was activated again, when the Chatham County Sheriff's Department triggered an alert for areas around our community to advise citizens that a person who was being held in detention had escaped into the woods and requesting that anyone who might site this person notify them immediately and take no other action themselves.

To register, you may also call the Chatham County Emergency Opeartions office at 919-545-8163, Monday through Friday (8AM – 5PM) to provide this information over the phone. Required information includes first and last name, street address (physical address only, no Post Office Boxes), city, state, zip code, and primary phone number.  If you receive the message "we are unable to automatically identify your address" while attempting to register online, enter your email address at the bottom of the page and submit. CodeRed will enter the information manually and send an email to you when complete.

If you are not registered with CodeRED, please consider doing so immediately. It's easy. Just click on the Community Notification Enrollment banner located just above on this page.

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On-Line Security for All Ages

This cyber safety and security page will be updated frequently with alerts and advice. If you have comments or questions and/or suggestions to contribute to this mission, please use this convenient on-line form to submit them. We will get back to you promptly.

Increasingly, community safety and security is coming to include being safe on-line as well as in the more traditional venues and ways we have all thought about safe communities. Computers are excellent home invasion devices. They contain a lot of information someone else can use to take advantage of anyone, to steal information of value, to stalk a person, etc., and many of us are all too trusting and/or all too poorly informed of the risks and how to guard against them.

The Fearrington Community Watch program includes the responsibility to help village residents be more aware of such risks and how to "harden themselves" by being more aware, more cautious, and less willing to post and submit all kinds of very personal information into the cybersphere with scant concern. Anything posted cannot be retrieved, and you forfeit almost all control over what may be done with the information. Worst of all, the rise of powerful social aggregation sites has opened the door to invasion ever wider at the same time that it has made shopping and sharing so much with friends and others so easy to do. There is a downside to the upside.

Computer SCAM Still Circulating

Community Watch Reminder -- This SCAM is still circulating: Someone may call you claiming to be from Microsoft, Apple, or a private tech support center. They are telling people there has been a security breech and they need to access your home computer to fix the problem. They tell people that if they don’t allow them to access computer to fix the breech, their private information will be compromised, or they may lose all their saved data. Sometimes they ask for money and some claim to be doing it on behalf of the software company for free.

Please advise anyone receiving such a call not to grant the caller any access to their computer and certainly not to provide a charge card number, or pay them anything. If you have any questions contact Chatham County Sheriff's Detective Mike Copeland at or 919-542-2911.

11 Simple Steps to Secure Your PC and On-Line Accounts

Data breaches, hacks, and vulnerable software makes it easier than ever for a hacker to get access to your data. These simple steps can help mitigate it happening in the first place. Read about them here.

 Do You Rely On Your Smartphone To Keep Track Of Just About Everything in Your Life?

That’s convenient — but it leaves you vulnerable. Take a few minutes today and protect yourself by protecting your phone.

Smartphones (and tablets) hold access to a range of private data:  information in contacts list,  apps with saved passwords or credit card numbers, email with confidential discussions, and more.

Protect yourself. In a recent column in the University Times, Sean Sweeney, the University of Pittsburgh's information security officer, outlined some simple steps you can take.

Here are a few of them:

  1. Lock it. If you do nothing else, use the passcode feature on your smartphone or tablet and set up the phone to lock after X minutes of inactivity. Yes, it’s one more step. It’s worth it.

  2. Update. Accept updates to operating systems and enable automatic updates; they include updated security features.

  3. SIM PIN. In addition to protecting your phone or tablet by locking it with a passcode, you should protect your SIM card with a PIN (personal identification number). While your locked smartphone cannot be used, its SIM card could be removed, placed in a different phone and your information exposed.

  4. Turn off Bluetooth. An open Bluetooth connection leaves you vulnerable to nearby hackers’ efforts. Turn it off when you’re not actively using the connection. (Bonus: Turning off Bluetooth saves your battery.)

  5.  Open WiFi = vulnerable smartphone. Limit use of public hotspots, and never use public hotspots when accessing personal or sensitive information. Your local coffee shop is not a good place to do online banking or place an order with your credit card.

For more tips on how to keep information on your smartphone or tablet secure, see Sean Sweeney’s “Not If, But When.”

Has Your Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail/Outlook email Account(s) Ever Been Hacked?

Has your email account ever been used by some unauthorized or unknown person to send strange SPAM or phishing email to everyone in your email address book and you ended up having to either change your password to a stronger one (and cross your fingers it too would not be broken) or delete the account altogether and open a new one with a stronger password? 

If you have any three of the email services listed at the beginning of this message AND if you have a cell phone that can accept text messages (SMS), then you might want to consider turning on Two-factor Authentication for your email accounts. From the Zone Alarm Security Blog, here is a complete step-by-step explanation of how to do that if you use Gmail, Yahoo, and/or Hotmail/Outlook for your email:

What Apps Have Access to Your Facebook and Twitter?

When was the last time you have checked to see what apps have access to your Facebook and Twitter accounts? If you are like most Internet users, you are probably long overdue for a cleanup. From the Zone Alarm Security Blog, here is a complete step-by-step explanation of how <b>and why</b> to do an audit (how to check) and set those security setting for both services. An audit will let you review all the apps on your account and determine if they should still have access.

On-Line Information Aggregators: A Privacy and Security Threat

During his presentation on Fraud and Security at the FHA Open Board Meeting on January 19, 2012, Deputy White from the Chatham Count Sheriff's Department talked about the privacy and security problems related to social network aggregator sites such as SPOKEO. These sites aggregate data from many online and offline sources (such as phone directories, social networks, photo albums, marketing surveys, mailing lists, government censuses, real estate listings, and business websites).

This aggregated data may include demographic data, social profiles, and estimated property and wealth values AND it is sold and shared with ANYONE who is willing to pay small fess (such as $30 - 40+, depending on what sort of data they are seeking). This can be a serious issue, and he encourages everyone to learn more about these aggregators and the serious personal security issue they generate.

We suggest that you read about such sites by visiting this link as a starting point. Then, if you are concerned about having so much intimate private details available on-line, consider the various ways to opt out as well as ways to keep your information more private. The best way to remain private is not to post much personal information on-line, especially in social networking sites such as Facebook (by far the site with the largest number of users). Start by reading here.

All the growing concern has spawned a new on-line industry devoted to protecting your privacy and reputation. One of the largest of these new businesses is You may have heard their ads on NPR's All Things Considered program. They offer a free service sweeping the Internet constantly to gather information about you and to report to you what they find. The report is free; however, if you want them to try to remove the information, they charge. Sometimes, you are able to act to get some of it removed yourself.

2012 - 2013 Predicted to See Huge Increases in Cyber Crimes and Scams

FBI ALERT: Issued January 06, 2012:

This is a bona fide, legitimate alert; not one of those we all often receive when someone passes along a cyber legacy urban legend, which they thought was real. Follow the links for the specific details. 

A new variant of the notorious Zeus identity-theft Trojan is making the rounds and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) says it is capable of defeating common methods of user authentication employed by financial institutions.

The latest strain of the ID-theft malware, called Gameover, begins as a phishing scheme with spam e-mails — purportedly from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the Federal Reserve Bank, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — that leads to malware infection and eventual access to the victim’s bank account. Learn how this Trojan could affect you.

Take Action

For up-to-date information about cyber scams, go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts.

If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by filing a complaint. This will help to track down cyber criminals.

For more information on e-scams, frauds, and phishing schemes, please visit the following FBI sites. They are excellent and valuable resources, and good starting points for digger deeper.