CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster traveled the South Carolina coast on Monday visiting emergency management officials in preparation for hurricane season.
After first flying to Conway, the governor headed to the Emergency Operations Center in North Charleston where he discussed state and local preparations with emergency managers from Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties.
The message? The state is ready for whatever mother nature sends this way, and now people living in coastal communities should follow their advice and prepare for the season.
“We have a great team. We’ve been through this before,” said Gov. McMaster. “We are highly experienced. We’ve got the best talent, the best equipment, and experience really does matter … we are as prepared as we can be.”
Thousands of people move to the state every year from areas of the country that are not often impacted by tropical storms. Making sure they understand how evacuations work and where to go is another step in the preparation process.
“We have a lot of new residents. We have a lot of visitors. We have a lot of people that will be visiting this area, the tri-county area, during those times and some of them have never seen a hurricane before,” said Gov. McMaster.
That’s why they want everyone to be aware of the specific evacuation routes you will take based on where you live, and why you can’t solely rely on GPS – they will not always guide you down roads that are open during an emergency.
“When you hear the word evacuations, most people’s ears go to I-26. But there are 35 additional evacuation routes in the state,” said Lt. Col. Travis Manley with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. “Know their zone, know their routes, and stay up to date with social media for all the state resources.”
“We ask everybody to be prepared just like the Boy Scouts,” said Gov. McMaster. “Be prepared- get your pills, pets, your papers. When the time comes be ready to proceed orderly outside the zone of danger.”
South Carolina will simulate lane reversals on I-26 from Charleston toward Columbia this week to help state agencies prepare for a potential evacuation this season.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has also opened an online survey based on hurricane evacuation to help them adapt to changing communities and populations. You can participate by clicking here.
“Before it happens. Now is the time to get prepared,” said Gov. McMaster.
Gov. McMaster traveled from Charleston to Beaufort County where he met with emergency leaders before heading back to Columbia.