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Preparing for a hurricane: what you need to have and do before, during & after

Hurricane Irma NOAA 0906 (WCIV)

With Hurricane Irma threatening South Carolina, the S.C. Emergency Management Division has a guide for protecting yourself, your family and your property before, during and after a hurricane.

BEFORE A HURRICANE

  • Have a hurricane plan and ensure everyone in the household knows the plan.
  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Have an emergency supplies kit prepared, to include at least: three days' drinking water (two quarts per person per day); non-perishable food; flashlight with extra batteries; portable battery-operated radio; first-aid kit; non-electric can opener; essential medicines; cash and credit cards.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in official shelters.
  • Protect your home by covering windows with permanent shutters, plywood panels or other shielding materials. Bring in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become a hazard during high winds.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Fuel up and service family vehicles.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or watch TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.

You Should Evacuate If:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well-fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

DURING A HURRICANE

  • If you are unable to evacuate, you should:
  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Be alert. Tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.

AFTER A HURRICANE

  • Wait until an area is declared safe before reentering.
  • Do not drive in flooded areas.
  • Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect damage.
  • Check gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
  • Avoid any loose or down power lines and report them to your power company.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until local officials have declared it safe to drink.

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