A reassuring glow radiates from the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Conference Center in Myrtle Beach on June 22, 2023, as representatives from 16 organizations stand positioned at their info booths.
It was the second annual Warriors in Disaster: Hurricane Connection Forum held by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and like the name implies, it brought together "warriors in disaster" to meet with members of the community to discuss hurricane preparedness and recovery.
Here along the Grand Strand, where the mighty Atlantic meets our tidal lands and waterways, hurricane season (June through November) is a very real threat.
Being prepared is critical, said Cindy Gettig, the chamber's executive vice president of business development. That's why Cindy and her team at the chamber brought together members of the public and some of the area's top disaster prep companies.
Claremont Property Company, which specializes in large loss restoration projects, and Palmetto Protection Films, which provides window films that prevent shattering glass, sponsored the event.
Joining them in the exhibit hall were 14 additional companies that provide various emergency and recovery services, including A Fiberglass Solution, American Red Cross Eastern SC, BELFOR Property Restoration, Carolina Energy Conservation, Claremont Property Company, EDS Waterproofing & Restoration, Joint Task Force K9s, Kelly O'Brien Insurance Agency Inc., Palmetto Protection Films, PuroClean of Myrtle Beach Inc., Restoration 1, Servpro of Horry & Georgetown Counties, Spann Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., and Vigilant Restoration.
Despite our coastal location's vulnerability to a hurricane, the Grand Strand is home to a large number of companies and organizations that specialize in property and business protection, loss prevention, recovery and restortoration.
Participants were able to meet one-on-one with representatives from these "warriors" and learn about best practices and know who to call when (not if) a disaster strikes.
Part of the basis for the forum, was to develop a well-thought-out emergency plan before an emergency strikes, including knowing what essential supplies you may need in advance and where to find available services before and after a storm strikes.
Newcomers to the Grand Strand, who may never encountered a hurricane before, may be unaware of all the hardships and obstacles that come with the storm such as the disruption in power and communications and the limitation in supplies.
In addition, three expert panelists shared their best practices for safely weathering a hurricane: Jamie Arnold, chief meteorologist with WMBF, Sam Hodge, director of Horry County Emergency Management, and Michael Hesbach, executive director with Eastern South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Key takeaways from the Hurricane Connection Forum included:
◦ Run from water, hide from wind
◦ Know your evacuation zone and have an evacuation plan
◦ Take inventory of your property now and make any necessary updates to insurance
◦ Tune into local news and weather resources for the most reliable information
◦ Stock your hurricane kit prior to a threat of a storm
For additional resources on preparing for a hurricane visit the chamber’s Hurricane Resource Center https://MyrtleBeachAreaChamber.com/hurricaneinfocenter.