Orangeburg County officials prepping for six to eight inches of rain

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:17 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 9:14 AM EDT
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ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - Orangeburg County leaders are expecting some severe flooding as Hurricane Ian strengthens which could make it difficult for emergency vehicles to make it out to certain parts of the county. WIS spoke with the county administrator and a spokesperson with the Regional Medical Center about what you should do if there’s a medical emergency.

Orangeburg County is already being hit with strong winds, but once these gusts hit 45 miles per hour, the county administrator tells me emergency vehicles like ambulances won’t be able to travel the roads.

Chris Potter with the Regional Medical Center tells WIS, RMC has been tracking Hurricane Ian by using an online tool called Hurrevac and have been preparing all week for the impacts of the storm.

“Ensuring that all of our generators were running properly, making sure all of our propane tanks were filled, our diesel was filled. Ensuring that the rooms were taken care of,” said Porter.

He says they even have extra staff on hand at the emergency room for Friday when the storm is expected to hit. City agencies have also been out prepping the roads for severe weather.

“Public works has been opening ditches and canals to the best of their ability to make sure other areas like lakes and stuff that receive water are open as much as possible,” said Harold Young, the county administrator.

The County’s administrator Harold Young says people living in the eastern end of Orangeburg county should keep in mind that they could get about six to eight inches of rain while people living in the central part could get up to four inches of rain all in a 24-to-32-hour span.

“So anytime we see that much rain, it’s going to be a problem so we’ve prepped the roads as best we can,” he said.

But if that heavy rain and those strong winds hit, emergency vehicles will not be on the roads, but Young says the county does have an alternative.

Young says, “The STAR team has been trained and equipped in different high water, high wind, and other types of rescues and they have specialized equipment. So, the STAR team would be dispatched to them.”

And while the county hasn’t been put under an official evacuation, Young is asking citizens to use their better judgment.

He says, “If they feel like they’re going to be in harm’s way please remove themselves from harm’s way prior to storms so that emergency personnel don’t have to put their lives on the line trying to save somebody that could’ve been prepared.”

You won’t need to directly contact the STAR team. All you need to do in case of an emergency is dial 911.

Chris Porter says the emergency department at RMC and BBMC the emergency center in Bamberg will remain open but the outlying clinics, like the cardiology clinics and the family clinics, will be closed for the day.

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