Red Cross Columbia Region Shelter Exercise set for Friday

From the American Red Cross

The new Emergency Operations Center that opened last September as an addition to the Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross will be utilized during an April 1 regional sheltering exercise. The Chapter will participate as part of the Columbia Region post-tornado sheltering drill at several locations in Horry and Williamsburg counties from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Red Cross activities will include a simulated response to a request by county emergency management officials in the two participating counties to conduct damage assessment caused by the "tornado" and shelters will open to accommodate "clients" displaced due to the disaster.

The local Red Cross will activate its EOC at 3531 Pampas Drive in Myrtle Beach to manage Red Cross activities. Damage assessment teams will deploy to simulated damaged areas and conduct assessment activities. Simultaneously, Red Cross shelter teams will deploy to Kingstree in Williamsburg County and to North Myrtle Beach. The shelter in Kingstree will be located at the Williamsburg County Recreation Center, 2084 Thurgood Marshall Highway. The First Baptist Church at 204 Hwy 17 N. in North Myrtle Beach will open as the Horry County simulated shelter.

Local volunteers will role play shelter clients. They will assist the exercise by registering in the shelter system, logging onto the Red Cross Safe and Well computer site that allows family members to be notified of their safety, receive client assistance and enjoy a hot lunch donated by local vendors.

Participating government partners include the Williamsburg County Emergency Management Division and the S.C. Department of Social Services.

The damage assessment and sheltering exercise is being conducted throughout a 28-county Columbia Region jurisdiction that includes the Coastal, Pee Dee, Central, Aiken and Upper Palmetto Red Cross chapters.