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
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.
- Put together your hurricane kit.
ITEMS FOR YOUR HURRICANE KIT
Manual can opener and utensils
First aid kit, medications
Special items for infants and the 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.
IF A HURRICANE THREATENS
- Three- to seven-day supply of food and water; one gallon of water per person and pet per day; nonperishable packaged or canned food
Refill prescription drugs.
Have cash or travelers checks available.
Pack irreplaceable items, such as photo albums, to take with you.
AROUND THE HOUSE
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.
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
- Make sure your car is filled with gas.
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
- Program emergency contact numbers.
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.
- Turn off electricity at main breaker and shut off gas.