Agencies build partnerships to improve response after disaster

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On the eve of hurricane season, emergency managers and responders are working together to help improve response during a disaster.

When a hurricane, tornado, flood or other disaster strikes, it takes a team of responders to help. Several agencies came together for the annual Emergency Management Coordination Committee conference.

"The partnership is everybody, from DOD, DHS, state of South Carolina, state of Georgia. All those resources, we come together, we provide topics on new ideas and things we've done this past year," EMCC chairman Mac MacLennan said.

The various organizations shared their experiences, training, and practices during emergency disaster response.

Trident United Way spoke about the Volunteer Reception Center, so the government agencies know where to send volunteers who aren't affiliated with any groups.

"People show up because they just want to help. They show up but may not have any particular skills, but even I can direct people where to go or check people into a shelter," TUW 211 program volunteer coordinator Sally Burnett said.

The main goal of the event was to improve communication between the agencies, which responders say is the biggest problem during a disaster.

The conference is the one time a year that many of the agencies meet face to face, to help them work as one team during an emergency situation.

"You really have to ahead of time form these partnerships, learn people's names, shake their hands, give them business cards, find out what they can do for you, find out what you can do for them, so when something bad happens, you can pick up the phone and go look we just had a hurricane here, we had a major flood, or we had a tornado, we need your resources," Charleston Emergency Management Director Bob Page said.

More than 30 agencies took part in the conference.

The Coast Guard started the EMCC in Charleston three years ago.

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