September ushered in the Atlantic’s first named tropical storm of 2022, and with the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona devastating Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos Islands with flooding and destructive winds, late summer is often a vivid reminder of the damage that these storms can wreak and the importance of preparedness for communities on the South Carolina coast.
“And now it’s time to prepare,” said Bryan Wood, MUSC emergency manager, Department of Public Safety.
Wood and members of MUSC’s Office of Student Engagement attended an annual student hurricane seminar on Aug. 24. The team reviewed the basics of preparation, including creating a hurricane plan, preparing a hurricane kit, explaining how to use Code Red Alerts, and providing information on how to do so on lowcountry storm shelters and how to handle pets during a storm. At the event, the first 25 students received a ReadyAmerica Emergency Kit containing enough food bars and water bags for three days, gloves, glowsticks, a survival blanket, weather radio, flashlight and an emergency plan. The event was sponsored by the Center for Global Health, Office of Student Engagement and Department of Public Safety.
Wood stressed that all individuals and families should prepare for hurricanes each year.
In 2019, Hurricane Dorian brought high winds and rain to the Lowcountry and Carolina coasts, leaving 270,000 homes without power.
Wood recommends assembling a hurricane kit with enough supplies for three days. The contents of the kit should include:
· Water – 2 gallons of water per person per day, including 1 gallon for drinking and 1 gallon for general use.
· Groceries – Plan a three-day supply per person, including high-protein, non-perishable foods.
· Flashlight/lanterns and batteries.
· Weather radio and batteries.
· First aid kit.
· Toilet paper.
Various entertainment in the event of a power failure: card games, games, etc.
When a hurricane warning projects a threat that will most likely affect that area, Wood recommends increasing preparedness and doing the following:
· Fill in prescription drugs.
· Have cash ready.
· Fill cars with gasoline.
· Use your smartphone to create a detailed video documentation of your apartment inside and out, including content
Wood recommends the resource Hurricanestrong.org, a website sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NOAA, where you can download a Family Hurricane Preparedness Guide and the Hurricane Safety and Preparedness Checklists if you are traveling with your start preparation.
MUSC students and staff are encouraged to download and use MUSC Alerts – an emergency notification system via the MUSC Alert System that includes SMS text messages, voice messages, and desktop alerts for up-to-date progress on storm progress, campus preparation, and related announcements.
A valuable statewide hurricane resource is the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s SC Emergency Manager mobile app, which is available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play. It helps users create an emergency plan and provides zone evacuation updates, closures, and delays, alongside shelters and other resources.
“These are all practical tips and activities that anyone can do now or anytime to ensure they are prepared for hurricane season,” Wood said.