Colleton County Fire-Rescue
07/Sept – 15/Sept/2018 – EOC-Evacuation Shelter Operations
As Hurricane Florence approached the SC Coast, early forecasts predicted the storm making landfall on the Charleston, Colleton and/or Beaufort County coastlines. The Colleton Emergency Operations Center was opened Friday 07-Sept with minimal staffing and went to full staffing Sunday 09-September with two separate Incident Management teams working 12 hour shifts. Governor McMaster ordered an evacuation of the coast as the State Government prepared for a statewide event. The new shelter location at Colleton County High School was opened Monday to accept evacuees. The Shelter was staffed with Firefighter-Paramedics Tony Keen and Kevin Varnadoe, Sheriff’s Deputies, National Guard Personnel, Red Cross, DSS, CERT Volunteers and Colleton School District employees. Staffers held a birthday party for a 3 year old boy who’s special day fell during the evacuation and tried to make evacuees feel more comfortable with activities and music. Fire-Rescue’s Emergency Management Division held bi-daily updates and conferences with local leaders and EOC Staffers, coordinating operations with the State EOC. Public Works provided several piles of sand and Firefighters staffed the piles, distributing over 6500 sandbags during the week. Hurricane Florence tracked north and away from southern SC by mid-week, shifting response to northern South Carolina and North Carolina. The slow moving, large Hurricane made land fall in North Carolina early Saturday morning, then tracked south through northern and central SC bringing flooding and wind damage throughout the state. Colleton County was spared from any major storm damage and has shifted into a support role for other agencies. A medic crew and ALS Ambulance was sent to Horry County to assist with responses on a request through the SC DHEC EMS Bureau. Fire-Rescue and the Sheriff’s Office are working with other agencies such as SC Firefighter’s Mobilization through the SC Fire Marshall’s Office to loan assets to affected communities in SC and NC who are dealing with a major flooding event.
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