FEMA, City of Myrtle Beach partner on statewide disaster recover - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

FEMA, City of Myrtle Beach partner on statewide disaster recovery from October floods

(Source: Georgetown County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Georgetown County Sheriff's Office)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As many people are still getting back to normal life following October's flooding, FEMA is switching gears to focus state-wide on long-term recovery, and it's chosen the City of Myrtle Beach to partner with in the effort.

Many people affected by the flood have gotten grants from FEMA. They have reopened businesses or moved back into their homes. FEMA's Disaster Recovery Centers are closing because fewer people still need help.That is why FEMA's focus is moving to long-term recovery. It's the next phase of handling disaster; transitioning from dealing with an immediate emergency, to looking back on it and learning.

FEMA is looking to the City of Myrtle Beach, and specifically City Planner Allison Hardin, for long term recovery efforts.

"We'll talk about the national disaster recovery framework, which are the guiding principles FEMA uses to help guide communities through recovery after disaster," Hardin said. "We hope that by introducing these principles and guidelines, that the community will take them and incorporate them into their operations. So that the next event they'll have fewer damaged area, they'll have less time down after the event and they'll be able to recover sooner."
Myrtle Beach is a city that has to be prepared for anything, from hurricanes and floods, to tornadoes and ice storms, and Hardin will train, receive a certification, then travel across the state to help the efforts.

"We're trying to share that expertise through the FEMA courses, with others, so others will have the knowledge that we have coming back after a storm, and how to make your community  more resilient before the next one."

Being resilient, Hardin said, is more than just coming back from a storm. It means growing from it.

"It's not just enough for us to be able to come right back to business immediately after. We want to be able to come back better than we were before."
The opportunity will give the city a closer look at how disaster recovery works.

"Pairing with FEMA gives us an opportunity to learn how FEMA works, and how the state recovery works so that we are more prepared as a staff, down the road, for the next time on that end of things."

She, along with a team of other officials and FEMA representatives will go to areas that don't have staff with extensive recovery planning experience.
"So that the next event they'll have fewer damages," according to Hardin. "It's vital to learn from past mistakes. Because you could lose more lives, you could lose money and property."

Hardin's training with FEMA continues at the end of January. She'll travel to different communities which ask for help through the months of February and March.

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