Volunteers, staff recognized for winter storm work

Published 11:22 pm Thursday, February 20, 2014

Many volunteers and Polk County staff were recognized by Polk County Commissioners during the county’s Monday, Feb. 17 meeting for emergency work done during last week’s winter storm.

Commissioner Michael Gage asked to add the item to the agenda with Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge and Polk EMS Director Michael Crater presenting reports.

Arledge said the county was very fortunate that there were very few incidents during the storm, including just three minor vehicle wrecks.

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“I think everybody heeded the warning and didn’t get out much,” said Arledge.

The county activated an emergency operation center with limited staff, he said, and just to be on the safe side, the Polk County Red Cross opened a shelter with two residents staying.

Arledge said he, Polk County Interim Manager Marche Pittman and Crater manned the emergency operations center and travelled the roads to assess problem areas. The county maintenance department transported department of social service (DSS) employees who helped man the shelter along with Red Cross volunteers.

Arledge said the county is appreciative of all the fire and rescue volunteers who were out as they always are as well as all law enforcement, the department of transportation, town crews and county maintenance who scraped roads.

Arledge said the county was worried about I-26 because of the steep grade and tractor trailers having difficulties in snow with no incidences in Polk County.

Crater said they did have several incidences in Saluda particularly where EMS had difficulty responding. He said Saluda Fire and Rescue made it when the ambulance couldn’t.

“You don’t know what an asset you have with the volunteers you have,” said Crater.

Crater also said the communications department did a great job and we should all be more thankful than we are.

Commissioners thanked volunteers and staff who worked to ensure safety during last week’s winter storm that brought various amounts of snow including four inches in some areas and 10 inches in Saluda.