It’s been 20 years since Hurricane Hugo devastated the coast of South Carolina. Residents as far up as Charlotte felt the effects of the Category 4 storm and the tornadoes it spawned. Cathy Haynes is with the Charleston County Emergency Preparedness Division and says Charleston has come a long way since Hugo.
“One of the improvements is putting actual signage up that’s up there all the time, kind of like the hurricane evacuation route signs that the state put up many years ago. So, they’re there, hopefully people will recognize them, and notice them, and remember them on their day-to-day daily travels. Another improvement is the hurricane survival guides that are specific to Charleston County,” says Haynes.
Now that Hurricane season has begun this year, Governor Mark Sanford joined the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation and local emergency personnel Monday to get the word out for storm preparation in case another Hugo were to hit. He made three stops along the coast of South Carolina, declaring that he doesn’t want residents to become complacent. The governor says the state can be at the highest level of preparedness, but if the individual is not, there’s a missing piece.
At the conference in Charleston, Sanford said he believes Charleston could be the most prepared county in the state due to its experience from Hugo.
“I always try to learn from other area’s misfortunes and possible mistakes they may have made, look at it and say, ‘that can happen here, what we can we do to make it not as bad.’ Every 365 days a year we’re always looking at our response plan, and making sure they are as accurate and as current and can be accomplished,” Haynes reacts.
Hurricane season is from June 1 through November 30.
Photo by Michael Brown