Edisto Fire Department uses lessons from Hurricane Matthew to prepare for Irma

by | September 9, 2017 8:49 pm

“We are hopeful, but we are preparing.” – Edisto Fire Chief Denney Conley


Edisto’s Fire Department was busy Friday afternoon preparing for whatever Irma has in-store for Edisto Beach. Fire Chief Denney Conley was as focused and prepared as possible for the massive storm churning the Atlantic Ocean – after all, he had a pretty fierce learning curve last October named Matthew.

“We are taking a lesson from Matthew last year by looking at our preparedness plans and the after-action plans,” said Edisto Fire Chief Denney Conley. “We’ve purchased equipment we didn’t have or could’ve used more of and we’ve taken those steps earlier instead of later. At this point, we feel like we’ve done the best we can to be ready.”

According to Chief Conley, one of the biggest lessons learned from Matthew was the difficulty the department heads faced traveling from the Emergency Operations Center in Walterboro back to Edisto Beach – a trip that took over eight hours because of the necessity of cutting their way back to Edisto.

“I think that was the biggest lesson of all,” said Chief Conley. “It took a long time to get back on the beach. We are much more prepared for that now.”

CALM BEFORE THE STORM. Edisto Beach is under an 8 p.m. curfew tonight and is also under a mandatory evacuation ordered by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. Photo by Cindy Crosby

“Right now, our focus has been keeping track of what the storm is doing and having people prepared and in place if we do face an evacuation order over the weekend,” said Conley. “We have great cooperation with other local fire departments and have their resources available if needed. We have also prepositioned some of our equipment off the island, so it is out of the risk area.

“We are hopeful, but we are preparing,” said Conley.

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