New Myrtle Beach Emergency Manager to prepare city to handle disasters

Bruce Arnel (left of center) will become the city's new Emergency Manager. Joe Murrell (center) will fill Arnel's previous role as Fire Marshal (Photo source: Myrtle Beach Fire Department) 

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach created a new job that leaders say will keep residents safe and help the city better prepare for emergencies.

The emergency manager will be tasked with handling disasters and figuring out ways to prevent them. The city has always had an emergency manager, per say—it’s either been the police chief or fire chief—but with added responsibilities, juggling both jobs become too much for the leaders of other divisions. So a new position was created.

The person filling it is no stranger to Myrtle Beach. Bruce Arnel has been the city’s fire marshal since 2001 and will now transfer over some of those skills to the emergency manager position.

Arnel will oversee the emergency operations center, and, as chairman of the special events committee, will help handle events like Carolina Country Music Fest and Myrtle Beach Bike Week.

“I’ll be looking at preparedness activities for the general public,” Arnel said Tuesday. “I mean, there’s a lot of things that go into this, training for city staff in emergency management.”

He said he will be working hand-in-hand with the county and other local jurisdictions ensuring that the community is prepared for any type of disaster.

“With all the events across the country, we’ve recognized that there are other things we need to look at,” said Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Alvin Payne.

Payne said the emergency manager won’t just deal with storms and hurricanes, but will also focus on special events safety.

“There’s a lot of events in Myrtle Beach that, to me, lends to the opportunity for something bad to happen,” admits Payne.

Arnel will be tasked with briefing the new mayor and council members on safety procedures.

“We’re gonna have to train them up and make sure they’re aware of how we operate our EOC,” said Arnel. “You can go to bed at night knowing, when you come to Myrtle Beach, you’re gonna be safe.”

In the new position, Arnel will be paid $91,979. That is more than Horry County Emergency Manager Randy Webster, who earns $83,332.