Nope, Dr. Amy didn’t install an underground bunker or purchase a new submarine. That is the new 1,000 gallon fuel tank for our generator system!

It might not look like a lot, but it’s JUST in time! I’d like to personally take a moment to thank Smith Electric and Efird Gas and the Stanly County Building Inspector’s Office, as well as our General Contractor – David Proffit for all the tremendous effort everyone has put into getting our emergency generator system online in preparation for this storm.

One of the less-talked-about aspects of our remodel has been the addition of a backup generator at Bear Creek. For the last ten years my wife nad I have been shuffling a generator up to the clinic to manually power things like IV pumps, dreg refrigerators, and computer systems when an emergency hits.

We knew we were going to have to rewire half the building anyway, so while we’re at it, we might as well install a generator system. There won’t ever be a more cost-effective time to do it than during this project. So, for the last few months we have slowly been duplicating electrical systems and installing redundant power throughout the clinic. The last steps were simply getting fuel and installing the generator.

We were SO very close to being operational, that at the first sign of this upcoming storm, we decided to push through and use whatever means necessary to get this system online before the hurricane makes landfall. (This is yet another reason we should thank all those wonderful people for making it happen – they had to deal with me yelling like a mad man the last 24 hours about getting it done!)

As of this afternoon, it’s finally a reality! No more lugging my generators from the house at 2 in the morning during a lightning storm to power the IV pumps for little kittens, or to power the anesthesia machines for surgeries.

The team from Efird gas finalizing the pressure test on the system before turning the generator on for the first time.

If the worst happens and hurricane Florence reaches out to cause outages in Stanly, Bear Creek will  (as far as we know) be the only veterinarian within 40 miles running at full operational capacity!

We really owe thanks to God and our amazing teams of overworked contractors for pulling this off! With the storm not more than 48 hours away from potentially affecting our area we have enough of Phase 2 completed to move into the new dual surgery suite, expanded kennel section, expanded isolation area, and to maintain operational ability for over two weeks straight without power from the grid!

There will certainly be hiccups if the system is needed. The old reception area isn’t on the generator because we’re about to demolish that part of the building for Phase 3, but we have a work-around to get power to the systems in there as needed during an outage.

What is our emergency plan?

We don’t know yet. But that’s not because we’re not prepared. We just don’t know what the storm will do. Over the next 24-48 hours we will firm up our plans as meteorologists firm up their predictions. There are a few things you can expect if for some reason major parts of Stanly County lose power.
  1. Internet and phones are likely to be down. That’s ok. We have a backup to our phone system that will allow us to redirect calls automatically to mobile phones. Customers won’t be able to necessarily get through as quickly as usual, but you will be able to leave messages and someone can call you back as soon as they get off the phone with their current call. Just know that we WILL be monitoring voicemails if the storm hits. Pending cell towers remain unaffected, we will still be able to respond to phone calls and emails throughout the duration of the storm.
  2. Mobile Veterinary Services – One of the things that sets Bear Creek apart is our ability to come to you when needed. We have always been able to provide mobile support to customers in the past and we are hoping to be able to do so during this storm as well. Keep in mind, road conditions and overall safety of our staff are paramount to us. If we can get to you safely, we will come to you. If we can’t get to you but somehow you are able to get to us, we will almost assuredly have someone at the clinic working emergencies. We have personnel dedicated to monitoring road conditions and washouts and will do our best to serve everyone that needs help in as efficient a manner as possible.
  3. Will the Clinic Be Closed? – Bear Creek is going to do all it can to remain open during business hours and to handle after-hours emergencies. Once again the single most important factor is the safety and well-being of our staff. If we have to send staff home for safety reasons, we might be operating with a skeleton crew at the clinic, but we are going to try to have at least one doctor in the clinic to handle emergencies as they come in. Keep in mind, there will be an emergency fee if the clinic is closed due to the storm and we are operating in emergency-only capacity.
  4. How to get updates? The best method of staying up to date with what’s going on at the clinic will be to monitor our Facebook page. We will provide updates to services as often as we can as conditions change.

Our prayers and hopes for you and yours go out to everyone affected by this impending storm. Stay safe. Don’t take risks you don’t have to. Hopefully we’ll see you all for a normal rainy Thursday and Friday and it will be business as usual, but if it’s not, the amazing doctors, techs, assistants, and support staff at Bear Creek will be doing all they can to care for your furry loved ones.

Tommy Jordan, Project Manager