Lowcountry first responders preparing for potential storm impacts

Lowcountry first responders preparing for potential storm impacts

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - First responders in the Lowcountry are busy preparing in case of a hurricane.

While many are making plans for the Labor Day holiday weekend, Burton firefighters are doing the same. They are getting their plans in place in the event that Dorian impacts Beaufort County.

“The majority of the calls that we respond to are electrical wires that are down, transformers that are blowing up; occasionally, tree limbs that are falling on a house, we’ll get those calls," said Captain Daniel Byrne, Burton Fire District. "Those are predominately the calls that we get. Last hurricane, we had a rescue. We had residents down here, right down the road from this fire station that didn’t evacuate, and the flood waters came in.”

During the beginning of hurricane season, Burton Fire, along with other first responder agencies go over their hurricane plans and make sure they are up-to-date. Now, with Dorian looming, they start to put those plans into action, taking inventory like Station 2 did on Wednesday.

“As the storm gets closer, we start looking at our equipment, making sure the saws start, we’ve got enough fuel, we’ve got enough cribbing, we’ve got enough rescue equipment to sustain ourselves. If a storm were to hit, for example, this fire station may be on its own for quite some time, so it needs enough supplies to be able to sustain whatever emergencies come down the road during that time period, as well as handle the emergency call volume and be able to live in the fire station isolated by themselves for awhile," Byrne said.

They are asking residents, and even those visiting for the holiday, to review their own plans and take their own inventory before any potential storm gets close.

“Make sure they have an evacuation plan in case a storm intensifies," Byrne said. "Make sure they have plenty of water, that their vehicles are fueled up, that they have enough medicine, and they’ve communicated with Uncle Buck. Make sure Uncle Buck will still take them in for the storm, and even if it’s not a hurricane - even if it’s a tropical storm - we get tied up as emergency services.”

Lowcountry first responders preparing for potential storm impacts

They added that there is no need for the public to panic - just make sure your own plan is up and running.

WTOC caught up with several people on Hilton Head Island. One resident says she ran into some tourists who weren’t even aware the storm could be a threat.

“I went to Whole Foods on the island to see if people were stocking up on groceries. Instead, I found two families visiting from the Northeast. Not only did they not have a plan, but they also didn’t know a storm could threaten the area.”

“Actually, we never gave it a thought, so, no,” said Kapil Kulkarni, visiting from Boston. “I lived in Florida for a while, so I have lived through hurricanes and whatnot.”

A family from Maryland says they didn’t even know about the hurricane.

“Absolutely not. We watch TV all the time, you know? It’s like, I watch Fox News every day, and they didn’t say anything about that.”

“We’re here until Sunday, so hopefully Dorian won’t hit so we can enjoy the rest of our week and our vacation.”

WTOC: “Now that you know, are you going to make a plan just in case things do get a little crazy?”

“We might have to stock up on a little bit of groceries and then just pray that we’ll be able to make it home on Sunday.”

Burton firefighters showed WTOC a useful app. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has an app for your smartphone that will guide you through the process of evacuation if it were to come to that. It can show you things like what hotels are open with vacancies, and even which are pet-friendly.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.