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 in an easy-to-carry container.
▪ 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.
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 and 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 cellphone 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 the 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 www.redcross.org/safeandwell or by calling 1-866-GET-INFO. Concerned family and friends can search for their loved one’s name, an “as of” date and the messages selected.
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, prescription medication
▪ Special items for infants and the elderly
▪ Toiletries and hygiene items
▪ Extra clothing and shoes
▪ Flashlight and batteries
▪ Battery-powered radio
▪ 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 and pump
▪ If you plan on staying in an emergency shelter, take linens with you.
▪ A copy of this newspaper section might also prove to be helpful.