In South Carolina, Dorchester County’s Emergency Management Department was looking for a way to spread the word about the Atlantic hurricane season and how people can be prepared for potential storms, something that goes beyond the typical public service announcement.
For a state, sharing knowledge and awareness about the hurricane season is as simple as combining refreshment and education.
“I’ve been thinking about interesting ways to get the message across that’s never been done before… maybe getting adults interested,” said David Amann, a Dorchester County emergency management and recovery specialist.
After some discussion, Amann floated the idea of partnering with a brewery for a hurricane-season beer that could print important evacuation readiness messages on the cans of the newly-made brew.
The beer idea grew into a partnership between Dorchester County and Charleston’s Tradesman Brewing Company, culminating in the creation of Know Your Zone beer. The light-tasting beer, brewed with California hops, is sold in select local grocery stores with a special purpose.
Each Know Your Zone can contains a QR code that residents can scan with their cell phones. The QR code links to South Carolina’s new Emergency Preparedness website, just in time for hurricane season.
The Carolinas got a taste of what the season has in store in early July when Tropical Storm Colin formed on July 2. The third named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, Colin, soon brought heavy rains and strong winds to the Carolina coasts, causing loss of organization.
But there’s still a long way to go before November 30, the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season. other potential storms, including some more dangerous than Colin, requires locals to be kept up to date with important safety information.
“The site will teach people how to create an emergency kit, how to make a family emergency plan, how to find your hurricane evacuation zone… it’s just a one-stop shop for hurricane preparedness information right on the can, easily accessible.” by phone”, Amann said AccuWeather national reporter Emmy Victor.
After only a few weeks on Dorchester County shelves, the cans have attracted public interest, both from local residents and outside visitors. Sara McConnell, owner of Tradesman Brewing Company, said of the 119 QR codes scanned, 31 were in the local area while the rest were from prospects outside of Dorchester County.
As the brewing company keeps up with the scans, McConnell said the partnership has been a success.
“People understand that it’s more than just beer, that other communities (members) are involved and that we’re trying to keep people safe,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
The joint initiative is expected to become an annual hurricane season tradition, with Amann hoping other counties in South Carolina and other states can implement similarly unique awareness opportunities.
“We’re not trying to make this idea just a Dorchester County thing,” he said. “We’re glad people are loving the initiative, we hope it might inspire other emergency management departments.”