McMaster visits Charleston to talk hurricanes

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is making stops around the state to discuss hurricane preparedness in this first week of the hurricane season.

He visited Charleston County's Emergency Operations Center on Friday to discuss this seasons main focuses. The governor sat down with local officials to brainstorm ways to improve the tri-county areas preparedness plans.

"The governor took a lot of notes so I feel sure he will do whatever he can to try and address some of those issues," Kathy Haynes said. Haynes is the current chief of operations for the Charleston County Emergency Management Division.

"There's nothing we can do about it. If it's headed our way, it's going to come," McMaster said. "All we can do is be prepared."

After Hurricane Matthew this past fall, tweaks have already been made to help keep us safe during emergency situations.

"We always learn lessons from previous incidents that happen," Haynes said, adding the emergency team is constantly looking for ways of improvement in all areas.

The main focus during Fridays discussions was evacuation routes. The team wants everyone to have a detailed plan in place, that includes filling up on gas, getting your car serviced regularly, and, most importantly, knowing your designated evacuation route. Take only your assigned route until you are at least 100 miles away from the coast line.'

"If you deviate, there's no guarantee with the traffic volume that you'll be able to reacquire another route," Department of Public Safety captain R. G. Woods said.

Another highlighted topic was to follow only official reports both on TV and online.

"We're utilizing every way possible that we have to get the word out to the public," Haynes said. "We encourage you to listen and monitor the official posts."

"We're not going to say the sky is falling unless it really is falling," McMaster added.

City of Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg said we all stayed safe through Hurricane Matthew because of the emergency team's constant, hard work.

"The reason there was not a loss of life in Charleston County was because of the professionalism of the emergency management team," Tecklenburg said.

"We can't do anything to stop a storm but with we can save lives by being prepared, understanding what's coming and listening to official channels," McMaster said.

"I can confidently say that the tri-county area, because we work together so closely we're almost like one, we are very prepared for anything that can happen," Haynes said.

For information on ways to stay safe and prepare for all emergency situations, including hurricanes, click this link.

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