Preparation list for hurricane season

May 26, 2009 

When a huge force of nature with the energy of several hundred hydrogen bombs comes barreling toward the Lowcountry, residents should be prepared for decisions and deadlines.

Here are some guidelines:

What you need to do right now

• Put together your hurricane kit.

• Decide where to go in the event of a hurricane evacuation and how to get there.

• Assign each family member a task to cut down on chaos.

• Make arrangements for pets — Red Cross shelters won’t take them.

• Catalog your possessions.

• Take photos of valuables. Make sure you have enough film for “before” and “after” photos.

• Have adequate insurance. Read your policy.

• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers nearby.

• Keep family records and documents accessible and protected.

• If you have a boat, consider safe anchorage options.

• Purchase a cooler that keeps things cold for up to five to six days.

• The U.S. Treasury Department recommends Social Security check recipients should use direct deposit. That helps ensure seamless delivery of federal benefit payments.

In your hurricane kit

• Three- to seven-day supply of food and water; one gallon of water per person and pet per day; nonperishable packaged or canned food

• Manual can opener and utensils

• First aid kit, prescription medications

• Special items for infants and elderly

• Toiletries and hygiene items

• Extra clothing, blankets, pillows, etc.

• Flashlight and batteries

• Battery-powered radio

• Cash

• Tools

• Keys

• Road maps, including evacuation routes

• Baby supplies

• Blankets/sleeping bags

• Games and books

• Plastic trash bags with ties and large zip-close plastic bags

• Jumper cables

• Tire repair kit

• If you plan on staying in an emergency shelter, take linens with you.

• A copy of this newspaper section might prove helpful, too.

Tips for cell phones

• Program emergency contact numbers.

• Designate someone out of the area as a central contact.

• Make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated.

• Keep phone batteries charged at all times.

• Forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation.

• Often in an emergency, text messages will go through quicker than voice calls.

If a hurricane threatens ...

• Make sure car is filled with gas.

• Refill prescription drugs.

• Have cash or travelers checks available.

• Pack irreplaceable items, such as photo albums, to take with you.

Around the house

• Board up windows.

• Put loose outdoor items in storage.

• Check for loose gutters and spouts.

• Move valuables to higher levels.

• Move furniture away from windows and cover with plastic.

• Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs and bottles. You should have enough water on hand for seven days.

• Remove valuables, such as furniture and rugs, from floor of house.

• Secure windows and doors from the inside.

• Trim dead branches.

• Anchor small sheds.

• Put chlorine in pool; protect filter motor.

• Dangerous chemicals, insecticides, herbicides or gasoline should be put in water-tight containers and in a high spot.

When you evacuate

• Turn off electricity at main breaker and shut off gas.

• Towels or rugs should be put around openings to reduce seepage.

• Lock all doors.

• If there’s something that’s really valuable to you, stick it in the dishwasher and close the door.

• Register yourself as “safe and well” at https://disastersafe.redcross.org/. Concerned family and friends can search for their loved one’s name, an “as of” date and the messages selected.

Taking care of pets

Here are some tips for taking care of your pet in the event of an evacuation:

Pets are not allowed in emergency shelters. For a list of pet-friendly hotels, go to: www.pets-allowed-hotels.com/us/South_Carolina.

• Do not leave your pet home if you evacuate. Pets that are released or left behind often become victims.

Things you’ll need for your pets

• Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit.

• Sturdy leashes, harnesses or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animal can’t escape.

• Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.

• Food, portable water, bowls, cat litter and pan and can opener.

• Pet beds and toys, if transportable.

• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.

• Dog and cat collars that are securely fastened with up-to-date identification. Attach the phone number and address of your temporary shelter or of a friend or relative outside the disaster area.

Interested in helping evacuate animals from the Hilton Head Humane Association no-kill shelter? Please call 843-681-8686.

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