Hurricane season is here, which brings renewed focus on how simple preparations can save lives in the event of a major disaster. Our Lowcountry community tells a tale of resilience.

Following Hurricane Hugo and subsequent tropical storms, tornados, and the recent spate of home fires, our community demonstrates the progress and prosperity possible when a community’s leaders, businesses and citizens communicate and work together. The American Red Cross has been one of those foundational leaders for many years and will continue to lead in years to come.

The American Red Cross disaster relief workers in Lowcountry South Carolina work hard every day to provide resources and emotional support for our neighbors whose lives have been torn apart by disasters. This ability to respond, however, does not come without preparation and planning.

Preparation is key to building resilient communities, lessening the impact of disasters and providing for a faster, more efficient recovery; the American Red Cross is no stranger to preparedness. The Red Cross mission calls for the organization to play an equally important role in readying communities before disaster strikes.

Resilient communities aren’t just born overnight. It takes businesses and individuals working together, sharing the responsibility of preparing their communities for disasters.

As we look toward hurricane season, there are three easy steps that you can take to make you and your family safer should a storm threaten the Lowcountry: Get a kit, make a plan and be informed. Start now gathering the emergency supplies you will need. Talk with your family and make a plan should you have to evacuate. Finally, stay informed regarding weather developments, community resources and travel routes.

Additionally, businesses, organizations and schools have the opportunity to further help communities become more resilient by assessing their emergency preparedness with the Red Cross Ready Rating Program. This free, self-guided program allows participating groups to assess their level of preparedness and have access to the tools, tips and best practices to inform and improve their standards. For information regarding the Ready Rating Program, visit www.readyrating.org.

We never know when or where the next disaster may occur or what the next disaster may be. But we do know that preparation is key and the American Red Cross will be there to support the community every day, every step of the way.

Take the time now to prepare before clouds line up along the coast. Together, we can build a more resilient South Carolina. For more information on hurricane preparedness, you can contact the American Red Cross at 843-764-2323 or go online to www.redcross.org/sc.

Mason R. Holland Jr.

Board Chair

Lowcountry S.C. Chapter

American Red Cross

Rivers Avenue

North Charleston