SC Emergency Management answers Irene questions - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

SC Emergency Management answers Irene questions

Southern coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org) Southern coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org)
Northern coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org) Northern coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org)
Central coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org) Central coast evacuation map (Source: www.scemd.org)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Although Hurricane Irene's path is still uncertain, South Carolina Emergency Management officials are preparing in case an evacuation is needed. The team is ensuring they will be able to get to residents who are in need of assistance if necessary.

Derrec Becker with SC Emergency Management says the state is at a level four operation, which is just one step above normal operations.

"[Level four] means that something could potentially affect South Carolina," explains Becker. "In this case it could potentially be Hurricane Irene."

WMBF News asked for viewer questions on our Facebook Fan page as they relate to preparing for the storm, and took those questions straight to Becker for expert advice.

Garrett Bateman of North Myrtle Beach asked, "If evacuation becomes necessary, how do they alert people? And where do you go?"

Becker's advice, "Should an evacuation become necessary…we will have first responders out on the ground, on the evacuation routes. But…the key things to look out for are the blue hurricane evacuation signs. If you just follow those, follow the route, you'll get to safety."

In addition, the WMBF News team will be sending breaking news text alerts updating residents on the evacuation status, if necessary. The text alerts are free and can be received by texting WMBFNEWS to 56376.

Another question coming from the WMBF Facebook page asks if there are shelters designed for people with special needs?

"All of our shelters are Red Cross certified," confirms Becker. "Most of the [shelters] are schools, and those too are listed under the state's hurricane guide on our website. If you have functional needs, if you think you may need a little time, contact your county emergency management office or contact your local first response agencies, or call us and we'll see to get you the help you need."

Governor Nikki Haley is expected to decide by Thursday if a mandatory evacuation is necessary for coastal South Carolina residents.

"Should the governor issue a mandatory evacuation, we will detail what areas are being evacuated. County Emergency Management will also be listing the evacuations, and where [people] should go. We will also have first responders on the street as well as highway patrol making sure everyone understands that yes, there could potentially be an evacuation, this is where you need to go, and also listing any potential shelters that may be available."

[To view storm surge map for Horry County from the Horry County GIS Department, click here (PDF)]

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