COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) continues their work on the Hurricane Evacuation Study.
The study kicked off at the start of the 2023 hurricane season is set to be completed in June 2024. Officials say the study, with input from South Carolinians, has the potential to guide how they plan for and respond to hurricanes in South Carolina.
“We’re really wanting to understand everything that someone is thinking when they’re making this evacuation decision, said Leah Blackwood, SCEMD Hurricane Program manager said.
Blackwood said these studies are conducted about every 10 years. Previous studies helped develop the state’s evacuation zones, refine planning timelines, and determine the best ways to reach residents with emergency information.
According to Blackwood, the study is focused on five areas: hazards analysis, vulnerability analysis, behavioral analysis, sheltering analysis and transportation analysis.
This new hurricane evacuation study will help state and local emergency managers adapt to changing communities and populations. As more people move to the coastal area of South Carolina, Blackwood said survey responses will really help develop their plans.
“Something that we plan for on the state side very heavily is something called an evacuation clearance time. This is a model showing us how long it would take to get the population to safety. With that growing population, we know that our evacuation clearance times will be increasing,” Blackwood said.