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Hurricane Put Light On What We Have And What We Need

If there is a template written for how to handle an emergency, we are so fortunate that Colleton has literally “written the book.” The same goes for our former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (R-Bamberg), who perhaps in the most recent oral history created a seamless evacuation for our beautiful Palmetto State.
At our office, we have been looking at the longevity of our internal leaders and of our teammates. Based on what we see, we are incredibly fortunate that the leaders of emergency preparedness for our county and for our municipalities have all been with us for quite some time. This is the type of experience that other people beg for. From the directors of Colleton County Fire-Rescue to our county emergency preparedness office to Edisto Beach administration and back inland to Lodge, our elected and appointed leaders are tried and true. They also “bleed Colleton,” meaning they have been a part of our community long enough to understand our infrastructure strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, and perhaps even more importantly, they understand the different cultural dynamics that exist within our county’s communities. We may be “Colleton County,” but the different mindsets and origins and demographics within our blanket county are varied and colorful. These make for a beautiful tapestry, but also for a challenge in planning for emergencies. A Green Pond resident needs something entirely different than a Cottageville man or woman. The same can be said for Edisto Beach compared to Lodge. Yet, we are all on the same team.
The Barry McRoys and Wade Marvins and Iris Hills and Suzanne Gants of our world make for a seamless process when we need them the most. We’ve even taken inventory of our volunteers. These volunteers have also been with us dozens of years. This type of loyalty is something that money cannot buy.
We will also say that the preceding days of hurricane preparedness have shown a light on a very large need that Colleton County has. We need a special-needs shelter in Colleton County. Blame it on the growing population or on the changing needs of our society, but Colleton needs to offer a specific shelter to its residents who have medical and mental special needs. Our neighboring Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties all offer this to their residents. It is a place where a resident can have a service animal, a hospital bed or sensory board. This needs to be addressed soon.
We also need our own communitywide emergency Web site that includes all evacuation zones, tips and state data for everyone. Our individual organizations and municipalities do a great job, but one site would be appreciated.
In the meantime, to these heroes that make our days safer and ease our minds in times of incoming hurricanes, we thank you. We ask for your continued patience and loyalty, and we encourage the continued communication of our internal agencies. We all depend on you and the lifeline that you build.

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