If 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 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 -- American Red Cross shelters won't take them.
- Catalog your possessions.
- Photograph valuables. Make sure you have enough film or disk space for "before" and "after" photos. There are several online tools, including smartphone and tablet apps, that can assist you.
- 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 or six days.
- Social Security check recipients should use direct deposit, the U.S. Treasury Department recommends. That helps ensure seamless delivery of federal benefit payments.
ITEMS FOR 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, medications
- Special items for infants and the elderly
- Toiletries and hygiene items
- Extra clothing, shoes, blankets, pillows, etc.
- Flashlight and batteries
- Battery-powered radio
- Road maps, including evacuation routes
- Baby supplies
- 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.
IF A HURRICANE THREATENS
- Make sure your 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. Put important family documents and records in a waterproof container.
AROUND THE HOUSE
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Put loose outdoor items in storage.
- Turn off propane tank.
- Unplug small appliances.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so food will last longer if power goes out.
- Check for loose gutters and spouts.
- Move valuables to higher levels.
- Move furniture away from windows and cover with plastic.
- 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 watertight containers and in a high spot.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs and bottles. You should have enough water on hand for seven days.
TIPS FOR YOUR CELLPHONE
- Program emergency contact numbers.
- Designate someone out of the area as a central contact.
- Make certain all family members know whom 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.
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 redcross.org. Concerned family and friends can search for their loved one's name, an "as of" date and the messages selected.