COLUMBIA, S.C. (Saturday, September 8, 1:30 p.m.) – Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency and, along with the S.C. Emergency Management Division, has urged South Carolinians to prepare for the possibility of Hurricane Florence impacting the state. The executive order enables all state agencies to coordinate resources in preparation for Hurricane Florence.
“This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances,” McMaster said. “We are mobilizing the state’s resources to make sure we are prepared, and the people of South Carolina must not hesitate to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane impacting our coast.”
Members of the state’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) will begin reviewing plans and notifying response staff should they be needed. Governor McMaster and SCEMD Director Kim Stenson will continue to hold conference calls with county emergency managers, SERT agencies and local National Weather Service offices. The agencies on these coordination calls share information and discuss emergency plans in advance of any response to the storm.
“If you experienced Hurricane Irma last year, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, or even the Flood in 2015: think about all the supplies you didn’t have or safety measures you didn’t have time to implement,” Stenson said. “Now is the time to make sure you have everything you may need: check your emergency supplies, prepare your home and your property and have a plan for where you will go if the worst-case scenario becomes reality.”
People in potentially vulnerable areas should review personal safety plans, including:
§ Know Your Hurricane Evacuation Zone: If evacuation becomes necessary, information for residents will be broadcast by coastal evacuation zone. Residents can locate their zone by visiting scemd.org, downloading the SC Emergency Manager mobile app and by referring the 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide.
§ Prepare to evacuate if ordered to do so: Residents living in vulnerable areas and those living in mobile homes that are in the storm’s path must plan their evacuation now. Become familiar with evacuation routes, which are marked with special signs. Options include: a hotel, motel, or friend’s home that is outside the vulnerable area or an American Red Cross shelter. Hotels and motels fill up quickly and “out of county” evacuations take time.
§ Fuel cars, keep supplies in vehicles, secure important documents: If the storm approaches South Carolina, individuals and families should fill up their cars with gas. Road maps, nonperishable snack foods, a first-aid kit that includes a supply of your family’s prescription medications, and convenience items such as diapers should be available in the car. Secure important documents in waterproof packaging.
§ Obtain supplies to protect the home: If residents are ordered to evacuate, there will be little time to protect their homes for the storm. Boarding supplies such as wood and shutters should be purchased in advance. Make plans to clear property of outdoor furniture and debris that would damage the home during a hurricane.
§ Consider the safety of pets: Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters. Individuals and families should plan to board pets with veterinarians, kennels, or other facilities in non-vulnerable areas. Identification and rabies tags should be attached to the pets’ collars.