Aiken County prepares for storm: Emergency contacts and resources
Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm on record and it is expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday; some meteorologists predict it will move up along the coast into Georgia and South Carolina by Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Police and officials in Aiken County are stressing that residents should not call 911 unless there is an emergency over these next few days.
A helpline for residents with non-emergency question has been activated, said Paul Matthews, director of the Aiken County Emergency Management Division.
Residents can dial 211 for all information related to Hurricane Irma, including shelter availability and pet friendly sheltering options.
They also can visit the S.C. Emergency Management Division’s website at www.scemd.org for more information.
If you experience an emergency or need assistance during the storm, please dial 911. Non-emergency and general questions and issues can be directed to 211.
Clay Killian, Aiken County administrator, said during a news conference on Thursday that the government has an emergency response plan in place for the area and police are prepared for any situation that could arise if the storm moves into South Carolina.
“Our first priority is to keep everybody safe,” Killian said on Thursday. “We are dealing with a major storm. Hopefully the predictions won’t come true, but we have to plan as if they are.”
“Aiken County Public School District has been in continuous communication with Emergency Management officials over the last few days. Together, we are closely monitoring the weather event and are prepared for the likelihood of utilizing Aiken’s schools as emergency shelter locations. The School District will provide immediate notifications should there be any impact on normal school operations.”
Any updates and information concerning the Aiken County Public School District can be found online at www.acpsd.net.
“We are asking that all families prepare for the potential impact of this storm,” Killian said. “Be as prepared as you can be.”
EMERGENCY RESOURCES FOR AIKEN COUNTY
The City of Aiken has prepared a list on its website of local, state and national information resources:
• Aiken County Emergency Management
The Aiken County Emergency Management Division coordinates the county’s integrated emergency management system through partnerships with all emergency response organizations, voluntary agencies, private non ?profit organizations and other support services, to ensure efficient preparation for, effective response to, and timely recovery from emergencies and disasters to reduce human suffering and property loss.
• Aiken County Help Line
When disaster happens, 2-1-1 is here for you. Trained and certified Call Specialists are standing by to help at no charge to callers. Aiken County Help Line 2-1-1 links callers with help and information during disasters. Help Line shares updated information on evacuation zones, shelters, food, service hours, clothing, and assistance with basic needs. We also provide listening support to victims experiencing distress.
• CodeRED Emergency Alerts
The CodeRED emergency alerty system delivers real-time emergency, community, missing person and severe weather alerts to users within the exact area of impact. Alerts are initiated by public safety officials who use the CodeRED community notification system to effectively alert and inform residents to save lives.
• Emergency Alert Radio Stations / NOAA Weather Radio
The following radio and television stations are key participants in the Emergency Alert System and the SC ETV Radio Network. They broadcast emergency information throughout the state, as do numerous other radio and television stations.
• South Carolina Emergency Management
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, a division of the Adjutant General’s Office, is the coordinating agency responsible for the statewide emergency management program. SCEMD’s mission is to develop, coordinate, and lead the state emergency management program, enabling effective preparation for, response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters in order to save lives, reduce human suffering and minimize property loss.
• National Weather Service
(Aiken, SC Weather) http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=33.595303218170045&lon=-81.74647628645067
The National Weather Service is a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NWS provides weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.
Launched in February 2003, Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDCs Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) is committed to strengthening the nation’s health security by saving lives and protecting against public health threats, whether at home or abroad, natural or man-made.
Health security depends on the ability of our nation to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from public health threats. To ensure that, PHPR supports our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners by providing funding, building capacity, offering technical assistance, and championing their critical role in protecting the public’s health