State leaders prepare for Hurricane Irma, urge residents to follow suit

(WSPA) – Emergency declarations were announced in the Carolinas and Georgia ahead of Hurricane Irma.

State emergency officials are mobilizing and telling county agencies to do so as well.

Henderson County’s Technical Rescue team is back home after almost a week of relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.

“Everybody was anxious to get out and help the people of Texas,” said Fire Marshal Kevin Waldrup. “Originally designed to go out and come back Saturday.”

Part of the reason they’re back early is Hurricane Irma may mean responding to another storm.

“Due to the lack of missions and the possibility of a storm hitting here.. They let us come home about four days early,” said Waldrup.

Preparing early is a key message from North Carolina governor Roy Cooper.

“To ensure staff and resources are ready,” he said during a press conference. “The state is doing what we want the people of North Carolina to do, and that is getting ready.”

Governor Henry McMaster in South Carolina had the same message.

“You cannot have a better more prepared more professional team and network around the state than we have,” McMaster said.

Declaring a state of emergency allows state agencies to coordinate resources in preparing for the storm.

The South Carolina attorney general’s office has now enacted a price gouging law for the next 15 days to prevent businesses like gas stations from hiking up costs to take advantage of the emergency.

As the state prepares, residents are asked to get ready too.

“Just assume or pretend that a category three hurricane is arriving tomorrow morning and do what you would do then, now,” said Governor McMaster. “What we are urging you to do, all citizens, is get prepared.”

State and local officials are getting the word out to help keep everyone safe.

“It’s your job in your heart to help people,” said Waldrup.

The state of Georgia has also declared a state of emergency for several coastal counties.

We also learned that the Salvation Army is sending a crew from the upstate down to Charleston Thursday.