Hurricane evacuation changes made from Matthew’s lessons

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – As the most active portion of hurricane season continues, Horry County Emergency Management says its Know Your Zone sign project is preparing Grand Strand residents in case we experience a repeat of Hurricane Matthew.

Emergency management officials say after Hurricane Matthew, people who live in Myrtle Beach, Conway, North Myrtle Beach, and the surrounding areas, offered helpful feedback that led to changes before the 2017 season. One dominant pattern officials recognized amongst all residents was the confusion of their hurricane evacuation zone.

As Horry County’s population continues to grow, emergency management crews wanted to make sure people know in what zone their home is located, so there’s no delay if an evacuation is necessary.

“New folks who are new to Horry County, new residents, and also people that live in the evacuation zone know that they are located in the evacuation zone should we need to evacuate in the case of an emergency,” explains Horry County Emergency Management spokesperson Brooke Holden.

The small signs being put up throughout Horry County may not seem like a significant change, but officials say, in an event similar to Hurricane Matthew, the small signs could save lives.

In addition to the signs, emergency officials are helping people create hurricane document binders. When an evacuation is ordered, it’s difficult to quickly locate all of your personal documents – passport, birth certificate, insurance papers, bank statements and more. The Horry County Emergency Management team is now hosting free binder building classes so residents can locate all pertinent paperwork and leave quickly.

“Passports, security cards, things like that, bank statements, different important documents so that they have them, they’re able to grab them and go during an evacuation order,” confirms Holden.

A binder building class will be held Thursday at the Conway Library at 2:30 p.m. Participants will create an emergency binder and will review evacuation areas to prepare for an evacuation is needed this hurricane season.