McMaster meets with state, local emergency management officials on hurricane preparedness

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Gov. Henry McMaster met with coastal emergency mamagement officials, including Horry County, to discuss hurricane preparedness.

The biggest obstacle emergency officials are facing is preparing for a hurricane amid the pandemic. This is uncharted territory for emergency officials and the pandemic is forcing changes to hurricane response.

D.S.S. Director Michael Leach discussed changes to hurricane shelters. When it comes to congregate shelters, like schools, Leach said capacity will be limited to ensure social distancing and more shelters may have to open up.

People needing to use the shelter will be screened and have their temperature checked, and those with a high temperature or COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated. PPE will also be used in congregate shelters.

Gov. McMaster said due to the pandemic, decisions will have to be made sooner, like possible early evacuations.

Director of SC Emergency Management Division Kim Stenson said when it comes to busing people out they will be screened, facemasks will need to be worn, and people will be spaced out for social distancing.

“This is a challenge already and with the possibility of a hurricane that will amplify it many times and we’ve been urging people to be prepared and listen to official sources that are prepared for hurricanes as well as the pandemic,” McMaster said. “Use your common sense, don’t be careless and don’t be stupid and we’ll get through it.”

Emergency officials said to pack thinks like cloth masks, soap, and disinfectant in your emergency kit and to start planning now. The entire Hurricane 2020 guide can be found on the SCEMD website.

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