Bladen Co. Emergency Management Director helps out in Hawaii

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — People across our state, including a Bladen County resident, are lending a hand to those affected by Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

A group called the North Carolina Incident Management Team is helping out.

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“We’re here supporting the county of Hawaii Civil Defense staff and their efforts to certainly protect those communities that are close to this activity,” Bladen County Emergency Management Director, Bradley Kinlaw said.

The team is made up of 10 people from various emergency management agencies across the state including Kinlaw.

“It could stop tomorrow. It could stop 3 years from now,” Kinlaw said.

Raging lava continues to spew across parts of Hawaii and it does not seem to be letting up anytime soon.

“The one spot we looked at where the lava had crossed the road, you know, it was 20-foot high in the middle of the roadway where it crossed,”  Kinlaw said. “Just massive amounts of lava everywhere.”

Kinlaw said they have been in Hilo, a community about 25 miles from the activity, since Saturday.

“The past couple days we’ve been writing a mass evacuation plan,” Kinlaw said. “It’s very comprehensive. You know, as who’s going to evacuate when, and how and where.”

A major focus of the team is to protect surrounding communities from gases formed by the volcano.

“When the lava rivers reach the ocean this mixture creates Hydrochloric acid which is a big white cloud of gas,” Kinlaw said.

The other gas they are concerned about is Sulfur Dioxide.

“Neither one of these gases are healthy, you know, they need some kind of respiratory protection or simply evacuate until the cloud moves over,” Kinlaw said.

Kinlaw said they are monitoring the gases closely and will evacuate people in the area when needed. The team’s overall goal is to help out where they can.

“To take some burden off of them,” Kinlaw said. “To help them get their plans and operations in place. To get through the active eruptions and get started on their recovery when that time comes.”

Kinlaw said the North Carolina Incident Management Team will help out until June 2, at that point another group will step in.