By Stan Welch
Anderson County Emergency Management Director David Baker felt no disappointment over the minimal impact on Anderson County of what was once a category five hurricane. “We were very blessed that the storm degraded so quickly. We actually had less debris management than we did for Irma last year, which was my first storm as director of the division. And that storm came a lot farther across land than Florence, since it came out of the Gulf.”
“The impact from Florence on the county was minimal. Calls to county dispatch for downed trees and power lines amounted to just under 50, with only two reportedly falling on houses. By comparison, last year during Hurricane Irma, dispatchers received 2,195 calls for service with nearly 1,100 of those related to downed trees and/or power lines.”
Nevertheless, Baker is fully aware of the one rule of emergency management: prepare for the worst and pray for something less. “With Irma, we had a handle on her pretty early. But with Florence, every update was in fact a new forecast. Everything was changing all the time. So we kept preparing and communicating with our various partners. Beginning Monday, we had four or five updates a day. Tuesday, we began daily face to face meetings with our towns and other agencies. Everyone involved came to the table ready to do what was needed to prepare for and handle this storm event.”
“At one point we had three complete shifts slated to work through the storm. As it weakened and the projections improved, we backed down on the number of personnel, until Saturday evening we were down to just the one shift as the remnants of Florence passed through the area.”
Baker said that some swift water rescue personnel had been deployed to the coastal areas, as well as at least one instant management team. Additional swift water teams have been sent since the storm moved off, mainly to relieve those who have been there so long. There have also been requests for some people with communications expertise to help restore and maintain communications systems in the disaster area.
Baker said that his division is working with the different school districts to collect goods and supplies for distribution by the United Way. “Right now, the problem is that there are very few dry areas to stage and begin distribution. My advice to anyone wanting to contribute now is to write a check to the American Red Cross. As soon as we can send supplies into the affected areas, we will be ready to do so.”
For any additional downed trees in the roadway and not on private property, the emergency debris removal line has now been transitioned over to the Anderson County Public Works Division and residents with information about debris blocking roads are asked to call (864) 260-4190 or report the location using the YourGOV app on your mobile phone.
Residents are also reminded to only call 911 for emergency situations. For any new power outages, residents are asked to please call their appropriate service provider: