WMBF Storm Team (WMBF)- The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the first building the Myrtle Beach Red Cross has had that is completely dedicated to responding to emergencies around the clock. It is a very valuable asset to disaster management in the area as this branch of the Red Cross serves 28 counties.
The facility allows the Chapter to remain at their Myrtle Beach location during more severe weather conditions than their old facility allowed. In previous years, the Red Cross had to pack up everything and move it to the EOC in Conway in the event of an emergency. Now, they are able to use this building as the main communications hub during a hurricane with all phones and computers being routed to this facility.
Karen Anderson, the Columbia Region Disaster Director, says that they desperately needed this space to help better coordinate food and shelter efforts during a disaster. She also says that they are prepared to pick everything up and move further inland should conditions be forecasted to be too harsh for even the EOC.
The 1700 square foot building is constructed of 14 inch reinforced concrete that can withstand Category 3 Hurricane winds up to 130 mph.. The floors and roof have been specially constructed to withstand the powerful effects of a hurricane.
It is also equipped with generators should there be a loss of power. There are resting areas and showers for volunteers who will routinely work around the clock.
The facility is used for trained volunteers to have practice drills and also houses checklists that are ready to be put into place at a moment's notice.
The $300,000 facility was paid for entirely by grant money but could prove invaluable should a hurricane strike the South Carolina coast.