How to prepare during hurricane season
Every year in South Carolina, June 1 through November 30 marks a season critical for hurricane preparedness. Make sure you have a plan, know your area, have a kit prepared and have viable plans for everyone in your house for when disasters strike.
MAKE A PLAN
Having a personal safety plan in place will help lessen the blow when disasters, like a hurricane, change your plans unexpectedly. According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, one must be prepared to take care of your family for three days—which could be the number of days local officials and relief workers take to reach you. SCEMD also states that an individual can either be confined at home or forced to evacuate in some emergencies and stresses the importance to know how to handle basic services in case they are cut off. This includes utilities such as electricity, gas or water, etc. It is a good idea to clean your gutters and trim trees before hurricane season officially starts to avoid as much damage as possible. If you have children, talk to them about what to do in emergency situations and make sure they have access to your emergency contact number and understand your plan.
TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN
Distance yourself from flooded areas. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration instructs to mind signs and not go through compromised bridges. The familiar tagline, “turn around, don’t drown,” pinned by the NOAA reminds people affected by quick and lengthy rains to never drive through floodwater. Always follow evacuation orders issued. Reinforce windows and use mattresses as protection to cover yourself. After the storm, pace yourself to avoid overexertion during the cleanup. Don’t use tools or machines you do not know how to operate as it can lead to accidents. Know where the closest emergency shelters are and monitor the closings and delays in the roads.
Since stores will likely close with impending hurricane strength winds and rains, it is important to keep an emergency kit with water, nonperishable food, a first-aid kit, medication, contact information, blanket, etc. If you have children or pets plan accordingly.
- Water – Experts suggest a three-day supply of one gallon per person per day.
- First-aid kit – This should contain ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, adhesive bandages, antibiotic/burn ointment, sterile gauze pads, etc. A really good kit includes a first-aid handbook!
- Cell phone
- Charged power banks
- Prescription medications, if needed
- Extra clothing
- Food with a long shelf life – canned goods with pop tops, prepackaged items that need no refrigeration
- Extra blankets or pillows
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Extra pair of contacts or eyeglasses, if needed
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency contacts labeled in your cell phone
- Extra set of car keys
- Cash and change
- Waterproof matches or candles
- Hand sanitizer
- Face mask – N95 rating
- Form of personal identification
- Gallon-sized resealable bag/tote to keep important documents safe
- Plastic bin to keep everything safe and contained
- Heavy-duty gloves
- Sturdy, closed-toe shoes
- Area map
- Books, playing cards, games, paper, pens, etc.
- If you aren’t going somewhere already stocked: toilet paper, bar soap, paper towels, toothpaste and toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, trash bags, bath towels, plates/cups/bowls, utensils, camping stove, etc.
The SCEMD asks to include your pets in your plans for disasters. Prepare the kit with their food, a pet carrier, their collar with ID tag, a toy to reduce their stress, and among others, a picture of you with your pets to help in case of separation. Have your pet’s medical records available and updated, make sure they are vaccinated. SCEMD states to never leave a pet outside on a chain, but if need be to leave them inside with enough food and water. Place your contact phone number, their veterinarian’s phone number, and a visible notice that your pets are inside your home. Anxiety can cause pets to act up so keep cats and dogs separately if possible. After the emergency, keep them leashed and monitor them closely as they can become defensive.
The campus is informed via BucAlert and email regarding major weather events. Be sure that you are receiving communication to your CSU email address and phone number.
Follow the National Weather Service on social media for the latest on the tropics.
The Emergency Operations Center on campus has a Full Emergency Response Plan where you can find Quick Tips on how to respond during specific emergencies at CSU, as well as a list of the best shelters on campus. For more information on how you can prepare for any disaster, visit ready.gov and redcross.org.
Catalina Duran Ballen is a junior communication studies major at Charleston Southern University and is an intern in the Marketing & Communication office.