With Hurricane Dorian looming and expected to impact South Carolina, we are deep into storm season and need to be prepared.

If a hurricane approaches

Following are top tips from the American Red Cross if you are in the path of a hurricane:

1. Get your home ready. Start finding a place to store outside items to prevent them from being moved by high winds or rain.

2. Keep up to date with news websites and channels for the latest updates. Obey evacuation orders from local officials.

3. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multipurpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cellphone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

4. Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a USB flash drive that you can carry with you on your key ring.

5. Prepare to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations.

6. Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets with leashes or carriers, food, water, bowls, cat litter and box, and photos of you with your pet in case you are separated.

Following are general tips curated from Post and Courier archives and emergency management officials to prepare for storms that could make landfall:

Storm season prep

  • Plan an evacuation route that will allow you to drive 20 to 50 miles inland.
  • Keep family vehicles fueled up and serviced.
  • Keep phone and mobile device chargers handy. Limit cellphone use to emergency calls during a storm.
  • Consider buying a hand-powered, solar-powered or hand crank-powered radio to check for emergency updates during power outages.
  • If you are staying home during a hurricane, make sure you are in a well-constructed building and go to an interior first-floor room or closet.
  • Make copies of vital documents and make sure to pack them in your evacuation kit. Consider using a waterproof container such as a safe or a storage bag. 
  • Decide on emergency meeting places where your household members can go for protection or to reunite. Identify places in your home, in your neighborhood, outside your neighborhood and outside your community where you can all meet in case you are separated during a disaster.
  • For more preparation tips, visit the S.C. Emergency Management Division website at scemd.org.
Hurricane Wire is a pop-up newsletter during hurricane season that delivers anyone who lives on the East Coast all the information they need to know as storms brew in the Atlantic and beyond.


Stocking up

  • Gather all your medications in a first-aid kit to take with you in case of an evacuation. Also pack a list of the medications you take and the doctor prescribing them.
  • State officials recommend that you be prepared to survive for at least three days in case of an emergency. Be sure you have enough non-perishable food to last you and your family three days. If you have a leftover emergency food kit from a previous hurricane season, check to make sure it has not expired.
  • Keep bottled water on hand. Have 1 gallon per person per day you will have to survive after a disaster. Again, three days is the recommended time to prepare for.
  • Pack flashlights and spare batteries. Check to make sure the flashlights have good batteries in them.
  • Have cash on hand, as ATMs and credit card machines might not be working after the storm.
  • As the storm approaches, fill bathtubs and sinks with water for cleaning and washing. Stock coolers with ice. Fill containers with water and freeze them so they can help cool food and later be used as drinking water. Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings, and avoid opening them as much as possible.

Make a communication plan

  • Make a plan to communicate with your family and loved ones during an emergency.
  • On paper, create a list of contact information that includes family members, doctors, schools and service providers. Give everyone a copy to carry in their purse, backpack or wallet.
  • Write down phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your household, and create a plan for communicating if battery power runs out or electronic devices aren't working.
  • If you have a household member who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a speech disability, write down information on how to connect through relay services on a landline phone, mobile device or computer.
  • If you have children in school, tell them your plan and who will pick them up in the case of an emergency. Sign up to receive alerts and warnings if your school offers them.
  • Identify someone outside your community or state who can act as a central point of contact for your family. Long-distance phone calls might be easier to make than local calls when local lines are jammed during an emergency.
  • If cellphone services are overloaded during a disaster, try sending a text message. A text requires less bandwidth than a phone call and will send automatically when the capacity becomes available
  • Enter household and emergency contact information into all household members’ cellphones or devices.
  • Planning tips and templates are available at ready.gov/make-a-plan.

After the storm

  • Avoid downed or sagging power lines.
  • Avoid flooded roads and washed-out roads. Follow directions and obey signs indicating road closures.
  • If returning home after an evacuation, beware of snakes, insects and animals that might have sought higher ground due to flooding.
  • Open doors and windows to ventilate and dry out your home.
  • Do not operate a grill or light fires indoors to avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you left food in your refrigerator, check to see if it is spoiled before eating it.
  • Check your home for gas leaks, electrical system damage, and sewer and waterline damage.