Lowcountry emergency officials prepare for hurricane season

Lowcountry emergency officials prepare for hurricane season

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Beaufort County Emergency Management Director Todd Ferguson and his team prepare all year round for hurricane season, but this year, with two named storms before June 1, he is on heightened alert.

"It was a good test for us to go ahead and set up plans and get our procedures in place. We've done it twice now this year," said Ferguson. "It worked out well, it's a good thing for us to get prepared, practice and make sure technology is working."

To help during an evacuation, they've got more than 75 traffic cameras and additional technology to help monitor the routes and keep traffic flowing.

"Technology is certainly our friend here. We use technology to our benefit with the county's traffic signals being on the county network. We're able to go ahead and change timing patterns and such from an office area, rather than to put officers in harms way. We can use cameras to alert us to many problem areas and stop something before it starts."

This week, thanks to a federal grant, they're adding another valuable eye in the sky at the intersection of US 278 and 68 in Almeda, just outside of Varnville, which was a big concern during Hurricane Floyd.

"It's only a small intersection but it's where two major evacuation routes feed into each other," said Ferguson.

Although Mother Nature has spared our area in recent years, Ferguson says this is no time to become complacent.

"We live in an area prone to hurricanes," said Ferguson. "We're on the coast. A hurricane has affected us and there will be another one in the future so complacency is not a good plan."

So, as emergency management prepares, they're asking you to do the same. Ferguson says it's important to know where you'll go in an evacuation, what you'll take with you and how you'll get there.

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