Public Safety

Photo: An Interstate in North Carolina
Jimmy Emmerson / Flickr

Rep. Harry Warren likes to wear flag pins on his jacket: One with the U.S. flag, and another with the North Carolina flag. On Tuesday morning, he sported them as he stood in front of the House of Representatives’ powerful finance committee, arguing the federal government has been ignoring a problem, and that the state government should take action.

“The question before us is whether or not we as an elected body want to take some strong legislative steps to hold undocumented folks accountable to obey North Carolina law,” Warren said.

A picture of lifeguards training in a pool.
PoolSafety / Flickr

Fewer teens are becoming lifeguards at local city pools.

Raleigh has had to cut hours at its city pools because it's fallen 40 slots short of its hiring goal. 

Raleigh Aquatic Director Terri Stroupe says fewer than half of the participants who signed up for a free lifeguard certification class last week passed the swim test.


Railroads across America carry hundreds of billions of dollars of toxic materials every year. 

A picture of a man taking cover under his desk.
Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation /

Earthquakes are rare in North Carolina, but they happen. So the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is asking businesses and schools across the state to practice earthquake drills today.

The effort is part of the Great Southeast ShakeOut.

Spokeswoman Julia Jarema says there have already been four small quakes in the North Carolina this year. And we're not insulated from seismic activity in other parts of the region.

Photo: A four-way highway intersection at sunset
Flickr user Tom

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a bill that would allow police to use photo cameras on state roads to track license plates.

The idea is that the cameras would take pictures of license plates, and police could use them to, for example, find a fugitive. Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) says that could have helped Guilford County investigators on a recent case.

"Had this technology been available, at a right of way, it would've been possible to track down the individual who had committed the crime," Robinson says.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr

The Dare County Sheriff's Office is encouraging visitors to the Outer Banks to know exactly where they are in case of an emergency. Cell phones sometimes share inaccurate or incomplete location data with 911 dispatch, so knowing your street address can make it easier for help to find you.

Assistant Director Lora Nock said the 911 Center handles twice as many calls in the summer months as it does in the off-season.

Two local residents, Ivin Scurlock, 41,  and Alexandra Simou, 40, lost their lives in a hit-and-run incident near Southern Village last month.  North Carolina has one of the worst rates for bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the country.  

Break the Grip of the Rip sign
James Albright via Flickr, Creative Commons

Dangerous rip currents off the Carolina coast are to blame for the deaths of seven people over the 4th of July holiday. That number is double the average number of rip current deaths in a year. Community leaders are calling the tragedies a wake-up call and are trying to find ways to prevent future drownings.

Putting signs and red flags up at various beach access points is one of several ideas, says Anthony Marzano, the director of emergency services in Brunswick County, where four of the deaths took place. 

 A beach swimmer on the Carolina coast. Officials warn of strong rip tide currents.
Billy Hathorn, Creative Commons

Safety officials on the coast are trying to make beachgoers more aware of rip currents. Those are the narrow channels of waves that can pull swimmers dangerously far offshore. Signs along North Carolina’s coastline advise visitors to ‘Break the Grip of the Rip.’

Spencer Rogers is with the governmental research organization North Carolina Sea Grant. He estimates that rip currents account for 80 percent of drowning and says the currents happen almost every day on North Carolina beaches, but are not always dangerous.

Durham bike riders are traveling the city's portion of the American Tobacco Trail hoping to make it safer. Debbie West says it's a route she likes to take to where she needs to go. "I love the Tobacco Trail. I live and work near it," says West.