Waiting on Dorian: Colleton County at OPCON 1

by | September 4, 2019 8:29 am

Colleton County is now at Operational Condition Level One. OPCON 1 means a disaster or emergency is imminent. The County Emergency Operations Center is fully activated.
Due to the approach of Hurricane Dorian, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered an evacuation of many South Carolina 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. Please see below for more details.
There is an increasing risk for significant impacts in our area. Tornadoes are possible tonight and into tomorrow morning. There will be more significant effects between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, including 4-7 feet of water inundation in evacuation zones and tropical storm force winds.
Colleton County Fire-Rescue and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office have brought in additional personnel in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. This is a very dangerous storm. The eye is predicted to come within 50 miles of the S.C. coast, with tropical storm force winds extending 100 miles inland, affecting all of Colleton County.
Those live in Evacuation Zone A or B, it is important that you evacuate as directed by Gov. McMaster because Fire-Rescue may not be able to reach you quickly during or after the storm. If you do not have the option of staying with friends or family outside of the evacuation zone, the evacuation shelter is open at the Colleton County High School at 150 Cougar Nation Drive.

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. 17-Alternate) 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 of your home’s location, you can go to the following website from any computer or smartphone: www.scemd.org/knowyourzone. In the top left corner of the map, there is a place to type your address and the map will display your home’s location. If it does not appear in an area shaded yellow or red, then you are not in an evacuation zone.
It is essential and perhaps even a matter of life and death that you comply with the governor’s evacuation order. If you do not evacuate and have a medical emergency during the storm (traumatic injury, heart attack, stroke, etc.), the closest ambulance may not be able to reach you, as they too will be evacuated prior to the storm’s arrival. In addition to not having access to emergency services, failing to evacuate could also cost you your life and the lives of your family due to the storm’s rain, wind, and potential tornadoes. If you live in an area that has been ordered to evacuate, you must follow the governor’s order and evacuate now.

The emergency evacuation shelter at Colleton County High School (150 Cougar Nation Drive, Walterboro, SC 29488) opened on Monday Sept. 2 at 12 noon.
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 may only be provided in the evacuation shelter after hurricane conditions subside. Although some food may be provided, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available. Pets, other than service animals, are not allowed in the shelter. Arrangements can be made for your pets if you take them to shelter to be housed in another building on the property; however, you must provide proof of rabies vaccination for each pet and the pet shelter is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 them in the Special Medical Needs 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 Care Line at 855-472-3432.
(Pickup locations for transportation to shelter in related story.)
If you have any questions or if you need transportation to the evacuation shelter, please contact the County’s Emergency Operations Center at (843) 549-5632.

Pet Shelter at CCHS
Colleton County Animal Services and the Colleton County Animal Response Team (CCART) are now offering a co-shelter for dogs and cats for those who will seek shelter at the American Red Cross shelter located at Colleton County High School (150 Cougar Nation Drive) in Walterboro. (See details in related story.)

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 three 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, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records/proof of residence (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
• Any prescription medications
• Bottled water (two 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.

Before you leave
Before you leave your home, you should:
• Know where you will go.
• Make arrangements for pets.
• 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.


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