Disaster Awareness: Preparation.
Things to Do Now.
June 1st was the beginning of hurricane season and we’ve had three named storms already. There are things you can and should do now to prepare for a disaster whether it’s a hurricane, flood, tornado or earthquake.
- Check your wind & hail, flood, earthquake and life insurance policies to make sure you know what each covers, that you have the right coverage and that your policies are up-to-date.
- Sign up for Smart911 at Smart911.com and Code Red on the Town’s website (click here) if you haven’t already done so.
- Take an inventory of your property if you haven’t done so in a while. Make a list of valuables, furniture, and electronics. Take photos or a video in your home so you have a visual inventory, which will be helpful if you have to make an insurance claim. Cell phones have the capability to take pictures and videos. Place a copy of your inventory/photographs/video away from your home.
- Get your propane tank filled, so it doesn’t pop out of the ground because it is not heavy enough if we have serious flooding on the island.
- Make sure the flood vents in your garage are not blocked in any way, get ride of excess boxes, old paints and chemicals and other debris that seem to accumulate in the garage, and move things up onto shelves so that the garage doesn’t turn into a waterlogged disaster zone if we have flooding.
- If you don’t have storm windows/shutters, buy plywood to cover your windows. (Please note that ARC Policy & Procedures states, “The use of plywood for hurricane protection is not allowed for buildings completed after 12/31/08.” It also says, “every effort must be made to remove this type of material as soon as the emergency has passed.”)
- Buy tarps that you can use to cover damaged sections of your house after the storm until repairs can be made. During and after a disaster event, plywood and tarps will be in short supply.
- If the disaster is a fire, make sure you have egress from your upper floors. You may need to purchase an escape ladder. Learn how to use it.
- Check emergency supplies that you have on hand and replace any missing or expired items.
- If your pets haven’t been microchipped, get it done now.
- Work down the excess food in your freezer and refrigerator and keep your cold foodstuffs at a minimum level so that you don’t lose too much food to spoilage.
Five to 7 days before the hurricane makes landfall:
- Notify friends/family of where you will go if you need to evacuate. Have a local and out-of-town friend/relative to call in case your family becomes separated by the disaster.
- Use up excess food in your refrigerator/freezer.
- Make hotel reservations in the event that you have to evacuate. Residents in our area will be routed toward North Augusta and Aiken County. Make sure the hotel/motel you choose is beyond the evacuated area.
- Don’t let the gas in your car drop below ¾ of a tank. Be prepared to evacuate by backing your car into the garage or parking it in an open space facing the direction of your escape. Shut car doors and roll up the windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Keep a spare key in your pocket. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect the automatic garage door opener.
- Listen to the local weather updates. Here are some sources of information.
- Local Live5 weather at http://www.live5news.com/weather,
- NOAA’s National Hurricane Center at hurricanes.gov,
- The local National Weather Service at weather.gov/chs. At weather.gov/chs they will provide impact graphics, storm surge height, storm warnings and watches.
- The South Carolina Emergency Management Division at scemd.org. This site provides list of resources plus weather alerts.
- WEZL 103.5 radio, WIWF 96.9 radio and ETVradio 89.3 radio are participants in the nation-wide Emergency Alert System.
- Tidelines will also provide updates, but check the above sources of information as well.
Please note, the Weather Channel will not have the same level of local reporting that the sources above will have. Also, keep in mind that the Limehouse bridge is closed when the winds reach 40 mph or greater, so evacuate before that happens or you will be stranded here riding out the storm.
- Gather your supplies together. Check over everything and make sure flashlights work, you have sufficient food that has not passed its expiration date, buy more bottled water, etc.
During a hurricane watch, the storm will usually make landfall within 36 hours,
- Bring in unsecured items (outdoor furniture, grill, bird feeders) – – anything that could become a projectile.
- Cover windows/glass doors, move furnishings away from windows.
The hurricane warning is issued when the storm is expected to make landfall within 24 hours.
- If told to evacuate, secure your home and leave immediately.
- If you are not advised to evacuate, remain indoors away from windows.
Your disaster supply kit should include:
- a battery-operated radio or hand crank radio, because we’ll probably lose electricity, and extra batteries
- battery-operated lights/flashlights, extra batteries and bulbs
- 2 gallons of water for each person in your household per day plus water for your pets
- non-perishable food that does not need to be heated, enough for a minimum of 3 days,
- a non-electric can opener and utility knife
- food for your pets
- essential medicines to carry you through an emergency, including prescription medications. Keep a list of your medications and the name of the doctor that prescribes each medication in your emergency supply kit. Since you don’t know how long the emergency situation will last, you should have a supply of prescription medications for several weeks and a way to get your prescriptions renewed/refilled by a non-local pharmacy.
- extra eye glasses/sunglasses, contact lenses and supplies, denture needs
- a well stocked first aid kit and manual. Kit should include: thermometer, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, sterile adhesive bandages, triangular bandages, scissors/needles/tweezers, petroleum jelly, safety pins, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, sunscreen, aspirin/tylenol, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid, laxative.
- changes of clothing including sturdy shoes, long pants & long sleeve shirt, hat, and rain gear
- blankets/sleeping bags,
- a mess kit – plates, cups, utensils and paper towels
- paper and pencils
- duct tape/aluminium foil
- pliers, wrench, shovel
- plastic storage containers
- plastic sheeting/plastic bags (resealable and tie-shut)
- baby supplies if needed (including food, diapers and medical history)
- fire extinguisher
- important documents (insurance documents, family records and photos), photo identification (passports), tax records and bank information, important phone numbers (friends, relatives, insurance carrier). Note: We often store phone numbers in our cell phones, but cell phones may not work. You may not have service or be unable to recharge your phone. Also, many of our important documents are available on the internet – – but what if you can’t access the internet?
- personal hygiene items – chlorine bleach, disinfectant, toothbrushes/toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels
- cash, credit cards, and ATM card
- a map showing the evacuation route