Response to Florence takes center stage at SC Emergency Management workshop

SC Emergency Management Preparedness Workshop

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hundreds gathered Wednesday for the South Carolina Emergency Management Association’s annual workshop.

Nearly 300 officials from agencies spanning the state gathered for the workshop, where discussions focused on some of the most serious emergencies from last year.

With Hurricane Florence still fresh in memory, those tasked with preparing for the storm and orchestrating response efforts discussed preparedness.

The storm certainly took center stage at this year's workshop. Kim Stenson, director of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, delivered the State of Emergency Management Address, highlighting successes during Florence, including a record number of shelters providing a safe haven for nearly 8,000 people.

“I’m proud to say we have had no systemic failures of any system that we’ve been able to uncover,” Stenson said.

Still, Stenson noted there’s still progress to be made in areas like flood response and evacuation compliance, saying while 60 percent of people chose to leave town ahead of Florence, it’s not enough.

"It’s so important for people to get out of harm’s way when that evacuation order is placed in, and it’s the same for the flooding,” Stenson said.

Over the course of the workshop, officials from different agencies across the state will work together to prepare for the next major disaster that could impact the Palmetto State.

“We’ll have a better understanding of each other’s capabilities and be able to talk to people we’re going to be dealing with on the next event,” Stenson said.

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