How would lowcountry residents get out if Beaufort County were evacuated during a storm?
About a dozen neighbors found out Monday morning, as they volunteered to help test our emergency plans. And resident Venaye McGlashan was happy to help.
“Unless our planners can exercise their plans, we will never know if it works, so this is our chance to see how well the plans work, when you actually have to do it cause there are always surprises,” said McGlashan.
While neighbors got a peek at the plans…officials say it was about securing the partnership between the county and Palmetto Breeze busses which would be the mode of transport in an evacuation.
“It's really for the bus drivers of Palmetto Breeze, there are so many things that these bus drivers are going to face on the day of an actual evacuation, people are going to be frantic, panicked, they're going to be worried about their house, worried about all sorts of different things,” said Joy Nelson, Beaufort County spokesperson.
And the drivers have a lot to worry about too…aside from dealing with stressed neighbors–they must present each passenger with wristbands according to where they live, and all of the luggage they bring.
“They're really only allowed two pieces of luggage, a purse or a bag, you can wear on your shoulder, and a small carry-on bag that you would typically take on an air plane.”
Once everything and everyone is loaded on a bus its pretty much smoothe sailing to the safe point in allendale where FEMA busses will take the evacuees even further away from trouble.
And volunteers say they learned a lot of valuable information today.
“I think just having the knowledge of how this would be carried out, whether there are mistakes or not, helps them know what it would be like, and I think the entire public needs to know this,” said McGlashan.
“Pack light, just be ready to go, and I think the preparation helps reduce the stress, and that can go a long way,” said volunteer, Nick Ferese.
Some other advice– make sure you bring with you proof of residency, whether it's a photo ID, or a bill with your address on it because you will need to have it in order to get back into the county after a storm.
Also no pets except companion pets, will be allowed to board the busses.