To flee or not to flee?
by The Press and Standard | September 12, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: September 11, 2018 at 3:16 pm
S.C. governor drops Colleton from evacation list, which causes major confusion.
Colleton County fell off the list of South Carolina coastal counties under a mandatory evacuation late on Tuesday morning of Sept. 11.
The update on Hurricane Florence issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. on Sept. 11 reported no change in the projected likely path.
Florence’s arrival on land is still projected for Thursday in the Wilmington, N.C. area.
The most recent update also produced no changes in the coastal areas under a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch. In both cases, the southern border of the zones was Edisto Beach.
It appears that Colleton County might see some wind gusts and some rain from the hurricane. However, county officials are continuing to focus on their efforts in preparing for the hurricane and monitoring the National Hurricane Center updates.
History has shown that hurricanes can make changes in direction as they near the shore.
Shortly after the NHC update, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the mandatory evacuation order for all of Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties — with the exception of Edisto Beach.
On Sept. 10, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered an evacuation of all of the state’s coastal areas, including Zones A and B in Colleton County. Colleton County residents in these zones must evacuate in compliance with the governor’s order.
McMaster’s order also triggered the closing of Colleton County’s schools from Sept. 11 through Sept. 14 and the closing of all Colleton County offices for the same time period. It is still unknown if the lifting of the mandatory evacuation will affect the closures.
The state of emergency also led the Colleton County Emergency Preparedness Department to issue a large press release addressing a variety of issues concerning the evacuation and preparations.
Zone A consists of anyone living south of the CSX railroad tracks in the southern portion of Colleton County and includes the communities of Edisto Beach/Island, Jacksonboro, Green Pond, Bennetts Point, Wiggins, White Hall areas (between the CSX railroad and Ace Basin Parkway/U.S. Highway 17) the Bonnie Doone and Maybank/Prices Bridge communities.
Zone B consists of areas south of Cottageville Hwy (U.S. 17A) from the Dorchester County line to Walterboro, south of South Jefferies Blvd, and west of Interstate 95 to the Hampton County line and includes anyone living along the Combahee, Ashepoo and Edisto Rivers that are subject to be inaccessible due to storm surge flooding.
If you are unsure if your home is in an evacuation zone, you can go to the following website from any computer or smartphone: www.scemd.org/knowyourzone. In the top left corner of this map, there is a place to type your address and the map will display your home’s location. If it does not appear in a shaded area, then you are not in an evacuation zone.
It is essential to comply with the governor’s evacuation order. If someone does not evacuate and has a medical emergency during the storm (traumatic injury, heart attack, stroke, etc.), the closest ambulance may not be able to reach them.
Before you leave your home, you should:
• Know where you will go.
• Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in most shelters.
• Turn off gas, electricity, and water.
• Stay tuned to your local television and radio stations for emergency information.
• Charge your cell phone and mobile devices. (Have an extra charger for your phone, etc.).
• Leave early. Take your time.
The emergency evacuation shelter at Colleton County High School at 150 Cougar Nation Drive in Walterboro opened on Tuesday Sept. 11 at 12 p.m.
Before heading to the evacuation shelter, first consider staying with family and friends or in a hotel out of the evacuated area, as the shelter will lack many of the comforts of home.
If those options are unavailable, the evacuation shelter will be a safe place to stay when you have no other place to go. Cots and blankets will only be provided in the public shelter after hurricane conditions subside.
Although some food may be provided, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available.
Sandbags are available at Colleton County Fire-Rescue Headquarters at 113 Mable T. Willis Blvd. in Walterboro during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
There is a limit of 10 sandbags per citizen and please bring your own shovel.
During declared emergency evacuations, all citizens with medical conditions that are treated by electricity-dependent medical equipment are encouraged to evacuate until it is safe to return to their home. However, if you, a family member, or a friend use electrically-dependent medical equipment, it may be possible to be admitted to the Special Medical Needs Shelter.
It is important to note that wheelchair-bound persons and those that are on home oxygen do not necessarily qualify for admittance to the Special Medical Needs Shelter.
Additionally, if they do qualify for admittance but cannot manage their own medical care, a caregiver must remain with the patient in the shelter for the duration of their stay.
To find out who qualifies for admittance and stay at the Special Medical Needs Shelter, please contact the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control at 855-472-3432.
If you plan to evacuate to a shelter or you are planning on evacuating out of the county, you will want to carry the following supplies:
• South Carolina Hurricane Guide
• Flashlight(s) with extra batteries
• Portable radio with extra batteries
• Mobile device chargers
• NOAA Weather Radio
• Non-perishable food for at least 3 days
• Bedding and clothing for each family member
• Blankets and towels
• Plastic dishes/eating utensils
• Rain jackets/pants
• Sunscreen/sunglasses/mosquito repellent
• Baby supplies (food, diapers, medications)
• Toothbrush, toothpaste
• Soap, shampoo and other personal hygiene items
• Driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records (particularly important for those who plan to access residences that are not their primary–vacation homes, rentals, etc.), medical records, family pictures, etc.
• Cash, enough to fill up your vehicle with fuel
• Sanitary supplies
• First Aid Kit, including any prescription medications
• Bottled water (2 gallons per person per day)
• Pet supplies (food, leash & carrier, vaccination records)
• Blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and cots (if evacuating to a shelter)
• Special foods, if you are on a restricted diet (if evacuating to a shelter)
During an evacuation, pay attention to emergency alerts via media and road signs for information about the nearest open shelter in case you need it.
If you have any questions or do not have transportation out of the evacuation zone, please contact the Colleton County Emergency Operations Center at (843) 549-5632.