CEMA releases Hurricane Matthew After-Action Report - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

CEMA releases Hurricane Matthew After-Action Report

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The Chatham Emergency Management Agency released its "final" report Tuesday about lessons learned during Hurricane Matthew.

The report is very important because it's not a matter of "if" we will see another major storm - but "when." 

Hurricane Matthew hit moved off the Tybee Island coast Oct. 7 and 8. as a Category 2 storm. Now, CEMA's report is out, detailing how we can better handle a hurricane.

"We've learned a lot, obviously," said Dennis Jones, Director, CEMA. 

The report noted communication was a problem at times. Specifically, there was conflicting information during press conferences as well as confusion when officials issued evacuations versus mandatory evacuations.

"Communication is key, and I think that's also something you'll see with any disaster. You'll always see communication challenges, and with Matthew, we certainly experienced some of those."

There were also re-entry problems. Many people didn't know when they could return home after the storm, and in some cases, people were allowed to return when areas were not yet safe.

"We need to look at some ways so we can streamline that process."

Since our area includes parts of Georgia and South Carolina, there was confusion when the states had different procedures. 

CEMA looked back at previous storms to prepare for Matthew, and now starts the process of making changes to be better equipped to handle the next storm.

"We improved a lot from Hurricane Floyd. We have new challenges that we saw during Matthew that we didn't experience during Floyd. So, every time that we have something that occurs here, we have to take a look at it and we find new things and we work to adjust."

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