CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Law enforcement agencies including Charleston police, North Charleston police and the Charleston County Sheriff's Office gathered Tuesday morning to tell the public to be patient with officers responding to calls during Hurricane Florence.
Governor Henry McMaster urged residents of South Carolina coastal counties to leave under the mandatory evacuation order he announced Monday because officers and EMS will severely downgrade their availability during the storm and high winds.
" Although our hope is that everyone will follow the order of the governor and evacuate, we know that some people will not," Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch Director Jim Lake said.
Lake urged residents to only call 911 to save a life, stop a crime or report a fire. You should not call 911 if you have water in your house except if you're trapped by rising flood water.
Mount Pleasant Police have moved to 12-hour shifts and have traffic patrols at full staff.
"This is not an opportunity for you to come take advantage of our community that is evacuating," Ritchie said.
Charleston police chief Luther Reynolds urged people to follow the governor's plan with lane reversals.
"All of our officers in fire rescue, the police department, and the emergency center are focused on the proper response," he said.
Charleston County deputies will also be stationed throughout the county to provide updates back to the Emergency Operations Center. ATVs will be stationed in the rural areas of the county along with boats.
Citizen Information Numbers:
Charleston County: 843-746-3900
Berkeley County: 843-719-4800
Dorchester County: 843-832-0393 or 843-563-0393
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The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is asking residents in potentially vulnerable areas to review their plans and consider actions they would need to take if the storm threatens the state.