The first step in any emergency preparedness initiative is to identify the hazards that could potentially impact you during a disaster or emergency situation. Once you’ve identified your potential hazards, it is important to determine the best way to prepare for, respond to, recovery from, and mitigate the impacts of these hazards when a disaster or emergency situation occurs.
Georgetown County is subject to impacts from a wide variety of hazards to include:
- Hurricane/Tropical Storm
- Dam Failure
- Severe Storms/Hail/Wind
- Winter Storms
- Sea Level Rise
Make A Plan
Developing your disaster plan should be a well thought-out process that is flexible for various disaster and emergency situations. During the development of your plan it is important to communicate with your family regarding your planned actions for different emergency situations and plan to exercise your plan on a regular basis.
The following key elements should be included in your disaster planning process:
- Household Information – contact numbers, articles of identification, and specific needs for each family member.
- Out-of-town Contact – identify someone who lives in another location outside of the potential impact area as a contact for family members.
- Meeting Places – designate at least two meeting locations; one location should be in your own neighborhood and the other should be outside of your neighborhood.
- Pet Planning – consider where your pet can evacuate should you need to do so; many hotels and emergency shelters do not allow pets.
- Medical Considerations – plan for any special medical needs or medication requirements that your family may require.
Build a Kit
You should prepare to be self-sufficient for at least 3 – 5 days without any assistance, utilities, or internet. It is important to ensure that your kit contains the necessary items for you and each family member, including your pets.
Your disaster supply kit should include the following items at a minimum:
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- Solar powered weather radio.
- First aid kit.
- Food and Water (3 – 5 days worth)
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medications and any medical equipment
- Pet food and leash
- Phone chargers
For more information on disaster supply kit items, check out our Build a Bucket supply list.
Know Your Insurance Coverage
It is important to know what will be covered by your insurance policy when disaster strikes. Basic homeowners insurance does not cover many specific disaster related impacts so it’s important to discuss the following coverage considerations with your insurance agent to ensure that you have adequate coverage.
- Flood Insurance – flood insurance is not offered as a part of your standard homeowners insurance policy and when purchased, it takes 30 days to go into effect.
- Wind/Hail Coverage – some insurance policies have specific clauses regarding wind and hail events. Be sure to check with your insurer to identify what would and would not be covered, as well as if these events carry a higher deductible.
- Earthquakes – most insurance companies require a separate insurance policy for earthquake coverage. Although we don’t always think about earthquakes as a hazard, there is a major fault line in the Charleston area. A significant earthquake such as the 7.0 earthquake that occurred in 1886 could lead to significant damage in our area.
- Household Belongings – create an inventory of your household belongings to show proof of ownership following an event that results in major damage or loss. Photographs are a great way of documenting your belongings and home condition before an event occurs.
- Renters Insurance – although you may not own your home, you do own the items and belongings that you worked hard for. Renters insurance is an affordable option that helps cover these items should a major event occur.