Hurricane season officially began in June and ends Nov. 30. Typically, September has been the most active month for storm activity. Recently we experienced the effects of tropical storm Hermine. Let her be a reminder that we need to plan ahead for such storms.
Since we’re now mid-hurricane season, a review of preparedness might be helpful.
- Make a plan. If you have special needs, such as oxygen, and require help, you can register for evacuation assistance. In Bluffton, call Palmetto Breeze at 843-757-5782 or visit www.palmettobreezetransit.com. If you’re on your own, know how you are you going to evacuate. Do you have a neighbor or friend who will take you with them? Do you need public transportation to a safe location out of the storm’s path? Let family members know what your plan is.
- Prepare your home. Take down any outdoor objects that might fly, e.g., outdoor furniture, bird feeders, hanging baskets.
Gather all your important documents, photos, jewelry, etc. in one place so that you can take them with you.
Have flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, water, food for yourself and your pets. Stock up while supplies are plentiful.
- Prepare yourself. Make sure you have at least three weeks of prescription drugs, extra oxygen tanks and cash in case the power is out for an extended period. (ATM’s, fuel pumps and store computers might not be working.)
Don’t forget eyeglasses and extra batteries for hearing aids.
Be sure your car is full of fuel. Have a “Go Kit,” possibly a backpack, to carry extra clothing and three days of non-perishable food.
Also have water (one gallon per person per day, three-day minimum). Also take your pillow, towel, blanket and toilet paper. Make sure your electronic devices are fully charged – and take the chargers.
- Listen to the TV or radio, or check weather websites. Weather reporters provide warning well in advance regarding the category, storm path and whether evacuation is indicated.
If you are not going to a friend’s home out of the storm’s path, make reservations at a hotel as soon as possible.
Leaving early is far better than later. Being stuck in traffic that isn’t moving is no picnic, especially if it’s hot. Take a cooler with ice, food and water for you and your pets.
When leaving, take a map in addition to your GPS to determine alternate routes to your safe destination.
Let your loved ones know in advance where you’re going and how to reach you. Determine a place to meet.
Do not stay behind just because you evacuated before and then the storm didn’t make landfall where expected.
You’re putting your life in jeopardy, because emergency personnel will not know you’re there and might not be able to rescue you.
Should a hurricane make landfall, it can bring not just rain, but also storm surges. A storm surge is a powerful wave of water 20 to 30 feet high. That and very high winds are dangerous and life-threatening.
Above all, be safe.
Rachel Carson, Certified Senior Advisor, is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care serving the Lowcountry since 1997.