Darlington County declares Hurricane Irma emergency
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darlington County Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday, September 7 to formally declare a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Irma, which was expected to hit the southeastern U.S. with several days of severe weather.
County administrator Charles Stewart said that even though Irma’s projected path had shifted west of the Carolinas, Darlington County still wanted to be prepared because “we’re still in the (area), and it could shift right back overnight.”
Formally declaring an emergency allows Darlington County to declare a temporary curfew, if necessary, and clears the way for the opening of the Emergency Operations Center, where law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical personnel congregate at the EOC headquarters (at 1625 Harry Byrd Hwy in Darlington) to coordinate storm response.
Stewart said this step could help the county access federal disaster aid to recoup money spent on EOC staffing during the storm.
County Emergency Management director Mike “Mac” McDonald said the EOC would open on the morning of Saturday, September 9 in anticipation of coastal area evacuations.
“We will have public safety personnel and mass care personnel from the Department of Social Services and the Red Cross, and we will be activating a shelter which we will announce separately on Friday (Sep. 8),” said McDonald.
He advised people in the storm’s path to stay vigilant and to keep abreast of the latest tracking data and safety advisories.
“Don’t drop your guard because this situation could very easily change,” said McDonald.
You can track Hurricane Irma and other severe weather events online at www.weather.gov/ilm/emdarlington and www.nhc.noaa.gov