Georgetown Country prepares for potential hurricane disaster

Georgetown Country prepares for potential hurricane disaster

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Georgetown County is ushering in hurricane season by preparing for the worst. Emergency Management officials say after a hurricane disaster strikes, getting the resources to those in need, as fast as possible, can be a matter of life or death.

Wednesday, Georgetown County officials worked with several agencies to play out a scenario where hundreds of their residents were stranded.

"When a hurricane comes in and does the damage that it can, it can knock out a lot of the bridges," Edward Snyder, South Carolina Air National Guard.

County officials played out an emergency scenario with the South Carolina Air National Guard and the US Air Force.

Emergency management officials says in the case of a natural disaster, air support would be vital to reaching thousands of their residents.

"Part of the scenario that were talking about this week is what happens when we lose the bridges over to the Waccamaw neck area, to Pawleys Island and Litchfield and how do we get our assets over there," said Sam Hodge, Director of Emergency Management for Georgetown County.

The plan includes SC Air National Guard, dispatched by the Governor, creating a mobile operation center at the Georgetown County Airport.

"Everything we need to have a fully operational control tower we have just in those two vehicles," said Capt. Christopher Spotts, U.S. Air Force.

Spotts say their mobile unity can monitor military and civilian aircrafts coming into the area, they're able to set this mobile control towner up in just a matter of an hour and thirty minutes.

"Practice makes perfect," said Snyder.

As part of the exercise, a large cargo aircraft passed overhead, simulating how they would drop pallets of water and relief supplies at the airport.

"At that point, the scenario is that we would actually airlift those over to the Waccamaw neck area, to Pawleys island, to those survivors over there," said Hodge. "It's important that we know we we're dealing with before the disaster happens and it just gives us a better understanding of the resources and processes that we need to go through."

Georgetown County officials say they do one hurricane exercise every year, it takes nearly a year to plan.

"If we have to roll into a natural disaster or emergency it makes it that much easier to gel as a team," said Snyder. "People change, but the responsibility to our nation and our people never does."

As for how the community can prepare, Georgetown County officials say every household should create an emergency kit with enough supplies to last their family three to five days.

Especially for coastal areas, county officials say it's crucial that residents know what evacuation zone they live in, to know when to go, and where the closest shelter is. Information on the SC Emergency Management Division website can help you determine what zone you live in.

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