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 wont 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
Road maps, including evacuation routes
Games and books
Plastic trash bags with ties and large zip-close plastic bags
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 theres something thats 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 ones 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 youll 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 cant 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.