ST. GEORGE, SC (WCSC) - Harleyville Mayor Charles Ackerman was among several elected officials, fire and EMS crews who took part in a mock emergency council meeting in preparation for hurricane season.
"Sometimes people ignore it because we missed this one. We missed that one. It only takes one."
Monday's exercise was a first for the Dorchester County Emergency Management Department. Officials discussed several emergency protective procedures, among them evacuation and sheltering.
"Will exercise this process in accordance with our standard operating guide, and we'll go back and look at the guide afterwards and after actions, lessons learned, what went on and what were the strengths and what were the areas that we can improve upon," says Mario Formisano, the department's director.
Ackerman, who has served as Harleyville's Mayor for 18 years, says the responsibility does not end with officials, and, while, they personally reach out to Harleyville residents, he says people have an obligation to be prepared.
"They'll take the time to get themselves prepared if they decide to stay in place. The key event is if you're going to leave, leave early."
"It is critical that the public understand what their responsibility is during disasters and that they're ready, that they've developed a plan, that they've assembled emergency supply kit to be prepared to be on their own from 72 to 96 hours," explains Formisano.