Preparing for Hurricane Irma
Although the forecast track for Hurricane Irma is now focused more to the west, we cannot let our guard down. Areas of our state are still expected to be impacted, possibly including the lowcountry coast up through Aiken/North Augusta and the northwestern counties of the upstate. Our state of readiness needs to remain high. If SC is not strongly impacted, South Carolina Disaster Relief WILL assist Florida and Georgia.
Unit Leaders are urged to assemble a team NOW that can be on the road by Monday or Tuesday. This includes chainsaw, shower/laundry, chaplains, assessors, child care, feeding, and communications. Do not wait to be called and asked – get your team ready to go! Every unit is needed!
Volunteers with medical skills are asked to join other types of units as a team member, to give attention to first aid needs of team members and homeowners.
The only SC residents under mandatory evacuation orders by the governor are those people that live on barrier islands in Beaufort, Colleton, and Jasper counties. Those same counties have also been mandated to evacuate their medical facilities.
Original Post, 8/7/17: Since our state is expected to take a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, SC Baptist Disaster Relief is going into full response mode. The Disaster Operations Center (DOC) has been set up at the SCBC office in Columbia, units are being pre-staged for use, and volunteers are urged to prepare.
Reports from Emergency Management and National Weather Service indicate that the projected track for Hurricane Irma will bring it not only to our coast, but will impact the entire state. The potential of high winds and tornadoes appears to be high. Massive power outages along with potential gas shortages are expected.
Requests have already come to the Disaster Relief office for assistance with feeding in shelters and for a shower unit to be pre-positioned at a church in Ridgeland to serve first responders. It is expected that all shower/laundry units will be deployed. All chainsaw units will be needed. Chaplains and assessors will be needed. Child care and communications may be needed. Some mud-out may be needed in coastal areas. Widespread flooding is not predicted, since the storm is expected to move through quickly.
Volunteers across the entire state are reminded to prepare personally for high winds and extended power outages. You will be able to help others only if you and your family’s needs are taken care of.
Unit Leaders are asked to prepare units and organize teams for Tuesday or Wednesday deployment. Do not wait to be called and asked – get your team ready now! Recovery units are encouraged to respond to needs in their own community as appropriate, and let the DOC know what you are doing locally. If your area is not greatly affected, call or email the DOC for an assignment outside your area.
South Carolina Baptist Convention executive director Gary Hollingsworth says, “Let’s pray the storm might be diverted out to sea, but if not, let’s pray and begin now to look for opportunities this event may bring for us to share Jesus as we also share cups of cold water. Please be in prayer also for our Disaster Relief leaders at every level, given the likelihood of facing another major relief effort in the days and weeks ahead.”