Fall brings two things in the Lowcountry: school and hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the vast majority of hurricanes and tropical storms come between August and October. It’s critical to be prepared with supplies and strategies to protect your family and your home.
Make a Plan … and Practice It
Knowing what you’ll do when weather turns bad is the first step. The plan has to fit the situation, as not all storms are created equal. Discuss the plan with your family and consider the most likely scenarios for when it happens: kids are at school, parents are at work, etc. Make sure emergency numbers are all available and up-to-date. Lastly, make sure your vehicle is ready to go with filled with enough gas to reach a safe destination.
Monitor the situation
Stay on top of the weather by paying attention to weather reports on television and the radio. Announcements with instructions regarding evacuation or Shelter-in-Place will be shared by local officials. It’s important to pay attention to these announcements and follow instructions.
It’s important to identify destinations north, south and west of your home to give yourself the most options in case an evacuation is needed. Understand that traffic will likely be heavy, but it’s worth it. Bring the essentials: food, water, clothes, important documents and prescription medications. Ideally, you would have enough provisions for up to three days, if necessary.
There are certain things you should have in your home to handle the two most likely situations: Evacuation or Shelter-in-Place. The Town of Hilton Head Island website has a comprehensive list of provisions for both situations, which you can access by clicking here. It’s important to make sure these kits are full and fresh every six months.
Secure Your Home
In the event of an evacuation, shut off your electricity, gas and water by using main switches and valves. Also, secure loose items in your yard and lock up doors and windows. If you have the time, board windows with plywood.
For more information on hurricane preparedness, go to the National Hurricane Center website.