10 Ways To Be Prepared For A Hurricane

September 2018

With Hurricane Florence knocking on the door of South Carolina, it's important that residents be prepared. This includes securing your homes and valuables, taking care of pets and loved ones, and most importantly making sure you are safe!
Here are a few important things to focus on as you prepare for the category 4 storm and the possible risks and damages that could come with it.

1. Get Information On When & Whether To Evacuate

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has ordered mandatory coastal evacuations for both South Carolina residents and visitors, lane reversals beginning Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 12 Noon.
Evacuations include:

  • Northern South Carolina Coast (all zones)
  • Horry County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Georgetown County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Central South Carolina Coast (all zones)
  • Charleston County Evacuation Zones A, B, C
  • Dorchester County Evacuation Zones D, E, F
  • Berkeley County Evacuation Zones B, G, H, I
  • Southern Coast (all zones)
  • Colleton County Evacuation Zones A, B
  • Beaufort County Evacuation Zone A
  • Jasper County Evacuation Zones A, B

2. Build A Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist available for download here. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency. Build your kit!


3. Protect Your Valuables

Move objects that may get damaged by wind or water to safer areas of your home. Move television sets, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, and easily moveable appliances like a microwave oven to higher levels of your home and away from windows. Wrap them in sheets, blankets, or burlap.  Wrapping them in plastic is also a good idea.
Make a visual or written record of all of your household possessions. Record model and serial numbers. This list could help you prove the value of what you owned if those possessions are damaged or destroyed, and can assist you to claim deductions on taxes.
Do this for all items in your home, including expensive items such as sofas, chairs, tables, beds, chests, wall units, and any other furniture too heavy to move. Store a copy of the record somewhere away from home, such as in a safe deposit box.
If it's possible that your home may be significantly damaged by impending disaster, consider storing your household furnishings temporarily elsewhere.

4. Fortify & Perform Safety Measures To Secure Your Home
  • Turn off water and electricity at the main breaker and main valve.
  • Cover the outside of windows with shutters or plywood.
  • Leave natural gas on (you will need it when you return), but turn off propane gas service (tanks tend to be dislodged).
  • If time permits, and if your home is subject to flooding, consider building a 1ft high and 20 foot long sandbag wall to keep water from your home.
  • Bring outside items indoors, which could fly around and damage property.
5. Protect Your Pets is a great site to check out that lists hotels that allow pets, so you won't have to put your pet in a shelter when you evacuate.
Before the storm. Make sure your pets are current on their vaccinations. Have a current photograph of your pet. Remember your pet carrier.
During the storm. Animals brought to a pet shelter are required to have: proper identification, collar and rabies tags and proper identification on all belongings. Include an ample supply of food, water and food bowls. Include any medications and specific care instructions.
After the storm. Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home - often familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.

6. Have An Ability To Communicate & Function Off-Grid
Cellphones may be off-grid, and some type of ham radio technology should be accessible. In the event that cell-coverage is available, pre-charge your devices before evacuations.
Prepare generators with gas and oil prior to the storm. This includes having the proper connections for appliance usage.

7. Communicate Your Storm Plan, Target Destination(s) & Expected Timeline With Friends & Family Prior to The Storm
In the event that communication is lost, it is a best practice to inform someone you know outside of the storm area of the details of your storm plan.
It is highly recommended to use tools like Facebook's "Marked Safe" feature to notify friends and family during or after a disaster. Here's How To Mark Yourself Safe

8. Doublecheck & Secure Key Documentation

In the event that relocation is necessary, you should plan on securing and caring items that can both make your life easier or harder. These items should include social security cards, birth certificates, banking and insurance information.

9. Remember, What Should Be Obvious Isn't Always The Case

Local infrastructure is often broken during a storm, and simple things like drinking water and food can be dangerous to consume. Pets, and other items in areas can also cause contamination. This is why you should avoid flooded areas if possible.
In addition, damages may create other dangers. An example would be preventing carbon monoxide poisoning after the storm by making sure your CO detector has working batteries, and placing generators at least 20 feat from doors, windows and vents.
The CDC provided additional information here.

10. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
  • Stay away from large tree areas and seek higher ground.
  • Remember the eye of the storm is very calm, and you should make sure the storm is over before you return home if evacuated.
  • Fallen powerlines and other objects create danger, and should be avoided.
  • Do not try to drive in flooded waters.