Emergency crews preparing for Hurricane Irma in Mt. Pleasant

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Mt. Pleasant Town Administrator Eric DeMoura held a briefing in Mt. Pleasant Thursday afternoon for departments to offer an update on how staff is preparing for Hurricane Irma.

"We know the citizens are counting on us, especially during an emergency. Rest assured we will stay on the clock, around the clock, for as long as it takes until things return to normal," DeMoura said.

He said various departments have met as work teams several times this week.

Mt. Pleasant Water Works' representative said during the meeting they plan to move to OPCON 1 Saturday.

They are staging equipment and vehicles at higher ground. Generators will be positioned at pump stations.

Police Chief Carl Ritchie said during the briefing, "All of my police officers and many civilian staffers will be working. We have approximately 70 officers on the street. We'll be going to 12 hours shifts on Saturday."

Chief Ritchie said officers are prepared to patrol neighborhoods, protect citizen property as people leave, and help direct evacuation traffic.

"We've looked at the low areas where the town could experience flooding, and we've identified three specific areas on the north end of town, middle of town and south end of town, " Chief Ritchie added.

"On those three parts of town there will be strike teams made up of police, fire and public works. Those strike teams will all be assigned to high water rescue vehicles." Chief Ritchie said the town has three high-water rescue vehicles ready to go.
Mt. Pleasant Fire Chief Herbert Williams said they have talked to all assistant living homes in town.

They made them aware they are not in a position to help evacuate everyone in those homes and encouraged them to work on safely leaving town quickly.

"We will go into operation Sunday morning, when I bring everybody in. We will work 12 hour shifts. We have over 100 firefighters. We have 50-60 available 24/7," said Chief Williams. "All that trucks have been filled up, maintenance done, chainsaws sharpened, equipment tested. We're prepared."
The Town's Chief Financial Officer Marcy Cotov said the town's unleaded fuel tanks were filled up today and diesel will arrive tomorrow.

They've checked data centers to make sure they're working and can operate on generators if power goes down. They plan to take non-essential servers down to save energy during the storm. AT&T will have workers stationed and plans to expedite.

"In terms of finance, we have cash in our vault, we've upped credit card limits so staff can procure what they need, we've set up an account to track anything in case we need FEMA reimbursement," Cotov said.
Cotov said they are prepared to pay staff next week even if there are difficulties because of the storm. "Also, our business license staff will be in right afterwards so that any contractors that come in would be licensed and we're setting up a website to have all the FEMA and insurance contact information online for staff to get to."

Mt. Pleasant Town Council and Mayor will be prepared to be available to pass any emergency measures needed before, during or after the storm.

The council meeting scheduled for next Tuesday will likely be postponed.

DeMoura said, "We will be as prepared as we can be, but it's important for the public to know that when it is unsafe for our personnel to be out in the field, they won't be. Citizens will be on their own at that point in time. We will not risk the safety of our personnel when individuals had the opportunity to leave but chose not to do so."

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