Hurricane Preparedness: Safeguarding Your Home and Family

Living in Charleston, South Carolina, offers many positives like cost of living and access to amenities, but it also means making sure that you and your family are prepared for hurricane season. Being on the coast, the city is susceptible to the impacts of powerful storms. To ensure the safety and well-being of your loved ones, it’s essential to have a comprehensive hurricane preparedness plan in place. In this article, we will explore crucial tips and information to help you prepare for potential hurricanes.

1. Stay Informed:
Stay updated on the latest weather forecasts and emergency alerts from trusted sources such as the National Hurricane Center, local news stations, and official government agencies. Be aware of the hurricane categories, storm surge risks, and potential evacuation orders specific to your area. It’s crucial to remain informed and prepared well in advance of any approaching storms. We’ve included a link here to another of our articles where you can see descriptions of each Storm Category.

2. Evacuation Routes:
Familiarize yourself with the designated evacuation routes in Charleston. These routes are pre-determined to ensure a safe and orderly evacuation process. The primary evacuation routes in Charleston include I-26 West, US-17 North, and SC-61. Plan your evacuation route in advance, considering alternate routes if necessary, and keep a map or GPS device handy in case of road closures or congestion. It’s important to understand your personal threshold for storms. Unless there’s a mandatory evacuation order in place, the decision to stay or go is up to you!

3. Emergency Supplies:
Assemble an emergency supply kit well before hurricane season begins. This kit should include essential items such as:

– Non-perishable food items: Stock up on canned goods, granola bars, and other non-perishable food items that can sustain your family for at least three to seven days.
– Water: Store one gallon of water per person per day, accounting for at least three to seven days’ supply.
– Medications: Ensure you have an ample supply of prescription medications, as well as over-the-counter medicines, first aid supplies, and any necessary medical equipment.
– Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio: Stay informed about the latest updates and emergency instructions.
– Flashlights and extra batteries: Prepare multiple flashlights and extra batteries to maintain visibility during power outages.
– Personal hygiene items: Include items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and personal hygiene products.
– Important documents: Keep important documents, such as identification papers, insurance policies, and medical records, in a waterproof and portable container.
– Cash: Keep a small amount of cash on hand as ATMs and card payment systems may be unavailable during power outages.

Don’t forget your pets! Food and water should be on hand for your animal friends – again it’s recommended three to seven days’ supply.

4. Secure Your Home:
Take measures to protect your home from hurricane-related damage. Trim back trees and branches that could potentially fall on your property. If you have a tree you’re concerned about, consider bringing out an arborist to perform an assessment on the health of the tree. Install storm shutters or purchase plywood to cover windows and doors. Secure loose items in your yard, such as patio furniture and outdoor equipment, to prevent them from becoming projectiles in high winds.

5. Develop an Emergency Plan:
Create a comprehensive emergency plan for your family. Discuss evacuation procedures, meeting points, and communication methods in case of separation. Designate an out-of-town contact person who can serve as a central point of communication. Ensure that everyone in your household understands the plan and knows what to do in an emergency situation. Again, everyone’s threshold for storms is different. Decide early what Category Storm will prompt you to evacuate. Don’t forget arranging plans that include your pets as well. Some hotels will change their pet policies temporarily in case of a state of emergency, but it’s not recommended to rely on that chance.

 

6. Review Insurance Coverage:
Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to understand the extent of your coverage in the event of a hurricane. Consider adding flood insurance, as standard homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover flood-related damages. Additionally, there’s a policy specifically for damage caused by hurricanes, which you can learn more about here. Consult with your insurance provider to ensure that your policy adequately protects your property and possessions.

Being prepared is the key to navigating hurricane season. You can safeguard your home and family during these potentially dangerous storms. Remember to stay vigilant, follow instructions from local authorities, and prioritize the safety of yourself and your loved ones.

Click to download our printable Hurricane Preparedness Checklist below.