ATLANTA, Ga. -- Three disaster-resistance projects in coastal South Carolina's Horry County have received funding from federal, state and local governments. Each project is intended to fortify structures that house essential operations or provide critical services in severe weather or other emergencies.
The projects will cost a total of $211,273, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paying $158,455, or 75 percent, of the cost of retrofitting the buildings. FEMA funding comes through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, an initiative designed to reduce the risk of future losses to life and property in communities susceptible to repetitive natural disasters. State and local funding will share the cost of the remaining 25 percent non-federal grant. Following are the three projects:
- The largest project will cost $111,388 to install protective window and portal film on four Horry County public schools, including Conway High School, Myrtle Beach High School, Seaside Elementary School, and Soscastee High School. Conway High has served as an emergency shelter during previous disasters, including Hurricane Hugo when it sheltered approximately 3,500 disaster victims.
- Four county administration buildings will receive similar window and portal protection at a cost of $72,585. The four structures house critical disaster functions, including the Emergency Dispatch Center, Public Safety Operations, and the County Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations Center.
- The 6,300 sq. ft. American Red Cross storage warehouse in Myrtle Beach will be retrofitted with a new roof designed to withstand winds up to 145 mph, as well as being leak-proof and fire resistant. The $27,300 grant will protect essential disaster relief supplies and will remove the need to build a replacement warehouse whose cost is estimated at $409,500.
Stan McKinney, director of the South Carolina Emergency Preparedness Division (SCEPD), said the three hazard mitigation projects would help essential public facilities remain open during emergencies. "We know how vital these facilities are in times of severe weather," said McKinney. "These grants will help insure that they can sustain operations under extreme conditions."
FEMA Regional Director John B. Copenhaver said the three retrofit projects illustrate the importance of planning ahead for possible disasters. "These buildings have weathered past storms, but they need to be upgraded," Copenhaver said. "The same holds true for homeowners who should think seriously about hurricane shutters and other measures to lessen the great personal risk, the tremendous damage, and other costs associated with severe weather."