Emergency management leaders ready for possible severe weather impacts

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry emergency management teams prepare for hurricane season all year. Now, as we enter the height of the season, leaders say their teams are ready to go and are urging residents to prepare as well.

Knowing your evacuation routes and having your hurricane ready kit packed is the advice handed out by both the City of Charleston and Charleston County’s Emergency Management Department.

Hurricane ready kits should include non-perishable food items, bottled water, chargers, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kits, important documents from your home, and several other items.

A full checklist can be found in Count On 2’s Hurricane Ready Guide which can be downloaded here.

This year, be sure to pack masks and hand sanitizer.

While you’re making preparations at home, emergency management teams are working to finalize plans.

“Living in Charleston, we don’t want to take anything for granted so we’ll make sure that we have all of our resources in place and our personnel know exactly what to do if they’re called upon,” said Shannon Scaff, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Charleston.

The police department has ensured inventories are correct for barricading and the department is prepared to enact barricades if need be.

Due to the pandemic, if enacted, emergency operations centers will be socially distant and personnel will wear masks.

“It’s all about really protecting our people,” said Scaff. “Making sure that folks have masks. The hand sanitizer is there. We’ve put a social distancing plan in place for our incident team to make sure they maintain that social distancing.”

The Isle of Palms has personnel on standby in case a big impact is made.

“If it gets closer and looks like it would make more of an impact we would pull in all of our resources and have double manpower on each shift,” said Kevin Cornett, Chief of the Isle of Palms Police Department.

The Charleston County Emergency Management team oversees shelters and transportation routes. They will look different this hurricane season.

“We’ve lost over 75% of the available shelter space that we have in Charleston County,” said Jason Patno, the Emergency Management Director for Charleston County.

The decrease in shelter space is because of social distancing requirements.

“We’re also going to have to require those individuals who are riding on the busses or seeking shelter at one of those locations to wear face coverings or other PPE,” said Patno.

Shelters and transportation routes have not yet been activated ahead of Hurricane Isaias, but these plans remain in place for the rest of the season.

“Just be mindful of the fact that even if we aren’t impacted by Hurricane Isaias, that you need to be at the ready. We’re entering the height of and now is the time to prepare,” said Patno.

We have all the information you need to stay prepared for this hurricane season in Count On 2’s Hurricane Ready Guide.

It can be downloaded here.

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