With Hurricane Florence headed towards the East Coast in the direction of the Carolinas, now is the time to be preparing for before, during and after the storm. We offer these tips from the S.C. Emergency Management Division.
You can take steps to minimize the loss of life or property during a hurricane. Remember, if a hurricane occurs, emergency responders may not be able to immediately reach you. You should be prepared to be self-sustaining for at least three days.
Before a Hurricane
• Have a hurricane plan and ensure everyone in the household knows the plan.
• Know your evacuation route.
• Have an emergency supplies kit prepared, to include at least: three days’ drinking water (two gallons per person per day); non-perishable food; flashlight with extra batteries; portable battery-operated radio; first-aid kit; non-electric can opener; essential medicines; cash and credit cards.
• Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in official shelters.
• Protect your home by covering windows with permanent shutters, plywood panels or other shielding materials. Bring in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become a hazard during high winds.
• Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters/downspouts.
• Determine how and where to secure your boat.
• Fuel up and service family vehicles.
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
• Listen to the radio or watch TV for information.
• Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
• Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
• Turn off propane tanks.
• Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
• Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
• If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
• If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well-fastened to the ground.
• If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
• If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
• If you feel you are in danger.
During a Hurricane
If you are unable to evacuate, you should:
• Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
• Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
• Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
• Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.
• Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
• Be alert. Tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.
After a Hurricane
• Wait until an area is declared safe before reentering.
• Do not drive in flooded areas.
• Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect damage.
• Check gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
• Avoid any loose or down power lines and report them to your power company.
• Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until local officials have declared it safe to drink.