Horry County public safety officials talk summer preparations as crowds already heat up

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County public safety officials are preparing for what they expect to be a packed tourist season in the Myrtle Beach area.

“We are anticipating an extremely busy year of visitors to our location and others that want to get  out,” Horry County Assistant County Administrator for Public Safety Randy Webster said. “We’re facing potentially a lot of strain on the public safety aspect.”

Public safety officials held a virtual conference to discuss preparations for the summer season Thursday. Those on the front lines will say things are already heating up.

“In the last 24 hours alone was 199 calls,” Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Tanner said. “During this time of year we normally average 160 to 170 calls a day.”

Horry County 911 dispatch has been seeing call volumes top pre-pandemic levels. Dispatch, like the Horry County Police Department, is hiring.

Police chief Joseph Hill made points to emphasize safety on motorcycles and in waterways.

“We have a vast river system we want to also keep safe,” Hill said. “We just had a tragedy out there recently this week so we want to keep that presence out on the river to prevent those issues.”

Chief Hill said patrol will be ramping up along certain roads like Highways 22 and 31.

Meanwhile, Horry County Fire Rescue is working on plans to handle the summer’s influx of people.

“Building upon our planning and discussion we’ve had in the past to put peak load units in the summertime for 12 hours shifts beginning Memorial Day,” Tanner said. “We’ll do that through Labor Day which we’ve done for the last three to four years. Our EMS manager is working very diligently to get those put together for us now.”

In 2020, Myrtle Beach officials cited gangs from outside the area as being behind some of the violence on Ocean Boulevard. News13 asked HCPD if the agency is doing anything to monitor the issue going into another tourist season.

“What we’re doing is working with our partners regionally to get some advanced notice of gangs especially out of North Carolina,” Hill said. “In particular Chief Prock from Myrtle Beach is receiving that intel and passing that along.”

Officials assured the public they are working hard to ensure visitors and locals stay safe.

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