For a state, imparting knowledge and awareness of hurricane season is as simple as combining refreshment and enlightenment.
In South Carolina, the Dorchester County Emergency Management Department was looking for a way to raise awareness about Atlantic hurricane season and how people can stay prepared for possible storms, something beyond the typical utility announcement.
“I was thinking of some cool ways to get the message out that hadn’t been done before…maybe adults would pick up on that,” said David Amann, emergency management preparedness and recovery specialist. of Dorchester County.
After some discussion, Amann broached the idea of partnering with a brewery for a seasonal hurricane beer that could print crucial evacuation preparedness messages on cans of newly made beer.
|Tradesman Brewing Company’s “Know Your Zone” drink has raised awareness of hurricane season in Dorchester County, South Carolina. Photo courtesy of Tradesman Brewing Company|
The beer idea turned into a partnership between Dorchester County and Tradesman Brewing Company in Charleston, culminating in the creation of “Know Your Zone” beer. The light-tasting beer, brewed with California hops, is sold in some local grocery stores for special purposes.
Each can of “Know Your Zone” features a QR code that residents can scan using their phones. The QR code leads to the new South Carolina Emergency Preparedness website, just in time for hurricane season.
The Carolinas got a taste of what the season has to offer in early July, when Tropical Storm Colin formed on July 2. The third named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, Colin brought heavy rain and high winds to the Carolina coasts before quickly losing organization.
But there is still a long way to go before November 30, the official end date of the Atlantic hurricane season. Other potential storms, including some more dangerous than Colin, will keep residents up to date with vital safety information.
“The website will teach people how to create an emergency kit, how to create a family emergency plan, how to find your hurricane evacuation zone…it’s just a one-stop-shop for that hurricane preparedness information. hurricanes right on the box, easily accessible by your phone,” Amann told AccuWeather National Reporter Emmy Victor.
After only a few weeks on shelves in Dorchester County, the cans have sparked public interest, both from locals and out-of-town visitors. Tradesman Brewing Company owner Sara McConnell said of the 119 QR codes scanned, 31 were nearby, while the rest were from those interested outside of Dorchester County.
As the brewing company tracks analytics, McConnell said the partnership was a success.
“People understand that it’s more than beer, that other (members) of the community are involved and that we’re trying to keep people safe,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
The joint initiative is set to become an annual hurricane season tradition, with Amann hoping that more South Carolina counties and other states can implement similarly unique outreach opportunities.
“We’re not trying to make this idea just a Dorchester County thing,” he said. “We are happy (that) people like the initiative, we hope it will perhaps inspire other emergency management services.”
Reporting by Emmy Victor.