If a hurricane watch or warning is issued that means it is time to act in order to be safe and avoid the main impacts of the storm.
A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for an area within 48 hours.
- Review your personal disaster plan and check your emergency supplies kit to include food and water supplies.
- Review evacuation plans. Learn safe routes inland and plan your evacuation route. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
- Make sure the gas tank in your car is full.
- Make arrangements for pets, and identify pet-friendly hotels if you plan to evacuate
- Refill prescription medications.
- Anchor or stow small boats.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Remove outside antennas.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
- Store drinking water in jugs, bottles and clean bathtubs.
- Trim dead or weak branches from trees.
- Stay tuned to local media and your Weather Alert Radio for updates on the storm.
A Hurricane Warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 36 hours. Begin precautionary action at once.
- Store valuables such as jewelry, silverware, photos and scrapbooks in a safe place, such as a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
- Park your car in a sheltered area or on high ground.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
- Evacuate if the order is given.
- If you must stay at home, stay inside away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
- Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries. Avoid using open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
If officials order an evacuation:
- Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
- Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
- Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
- If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding, or move it to a higher floor.
- Bring your pre-assembled emergency supplies kit.
- Bring blankets and sleeping bags if you are going to a shelter.
- Lock your home and leave.
Source: Charleston County Emergency Management Department