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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The creation of and need for Emergency Management

Moore briefly discusses the formation and evolution of Emergency Management, beginning with Jim Hunt's first administration in 1977. In so doing, Moore offers his thoughts on demographic changes and overall growth of the state as factors in creating a need for a more systematic approach for government aid during times of crisis. In this regard, his comments reveal the changing needs of citizens and state government responses to those needs during the late twentieth century.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Richard H. Moore, August 2, 2002. Interview K-0598. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

RICHARD MOORE:
Ah, Emergency Management is a successor entity here in North Carolina, and I think in most states, to the old Civil Defense.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Ah, okay.
RICHARD MOORE:
Civil Defense came about during the Cold War when people built bunkers in their back yard. Actually during Governor Hunt's first administration, and my deputy secretary at the time of Floyd, David Kelly, was an assistant secretary in the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety when it was first founded. He was one of the founders of Emergency Management. They took it from Civil Defense and changed the role of it for modern-day emergency management.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What year would that have been, or approximately?
RICHARD MOORE:
That would have been, let me see. Governor Hunt became governor for the first time in 1977.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yeah, so it was in the 70s. Okay. You've got a good memory.
RICHARD MOORE:
One of the things that Governor Hunt gives me a hard time for is it's very easy for me to remember Governor Hunt's career because I was in junior high when he was lieutenant governor, and in high school when he was governor the first time. I was unique among his cabinet of having that perspective, being significantly younger than most of them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I can imagine.
RICHARD MOORE:
We joke about that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Great. The reason I was asking what people did before that is because you hear all these stories of, say, how devastating Hurricane Hazel was in 1954. You hear old people say, "Well, we didn't have any emergency management then. We just relied on our neighbors. We had to fend for ourselves." That kind of thing. I'm just wondering how the response has changed, how government became much more active whereas a couple of generations ago people maybe didn't expect that from government.
RICHARD MOORE:
Well, that's a great question and a great perspective. I think what has changed is the amount of people living in vulnerable environments. That's the big thing. Florida really kind of leads in that. Florida has I don't know how many million people. I think they have more than 20 million people in the State of Florida. I know they're significantly larger than North Carolina. But the strange thing about Florida is ninety percent of their population lives within eight miles of an ocean on one side or the other. North Carolina, and all of the states in hurricane alley, have experienced similar growth. I grew up with the stories of Hurricane Hazel. We had a place at the coast. My grandparents had a place at Virginia Beach. My uncle had a place at Atlantic Beach, and I heard all the stories about where it was flooded and how. But people in those days didn't have the quality of homes. When you built a home at the beach you kind of took a gamble that it was gone. There was no federal insurance program. There was no anything. And there were not a lot of jobs. Tourism was not a huge engine in those days. As hurricanes came inland, I remember as a small child having fairly severe storms where we just didn't have power for a week. You just made do. What has changed, we have multi-billion dollar infrastructures that have been so good for our economy, and tourism is an important part of this state, that now require us to be more sophisticated. We have a tremendous population of retirees, of elderly people, who are living in our coastal areas, so government has conformed to those needs.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Right, right, and you also have industrialized agriculture that maybe you didn't have a couple of generations ago where there's millions of dollars at stake in terms of the economy, so it's another sector.
RICHARD MOORE:
That's exactly right.