Evacuation Routes: North (Little River - Georgetown) | Central (Edisto Island - McClellanville) | South (Bluffton - Beaufort)

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Preparing for a Hurricane

Table of Contents
Know What a Watch or Warning Means
Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit
How to Prepare for High Winds
What to Do When a Hurricane Watch Is Issued
What to Do When A Hurricane Warning Is Issued
What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over
More Information

Know What Hurricane WATCH and WARNING Mean

  • WATCH: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the WATCH, usually within 36 hours.
  • WARNING: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the WARNING, usually within 24 hours.

Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan

  • Do not leave home without a copy of the evacuation routes. These routes are posted on the DPS web site at http://www.sctraffic.org/ along with other traffic information. Motorists are strongly discouraged from taking alternate travel routes. Law enforcement priority will be given to the main evacuation routes.
  • Do begin evacuation immediately if you are traveling with small children, the elderly or people who have special medical needs.
  • Do expect heavy, slow-moving traffic along evacuation routes. Officers will be at intersections and in line patrols covering the evacuation routes to direct traffic and handle traffic emergencies. DOT will have incident management vehicles deployed as well.
  • Do avoid taking multiple vehicles; car pool when possible.
  • Do verify that your vehicle is in good working order, checking to make sure the gas tank is full and the tire pressure, oil levels and lights are in working order.
  • Do take food, water, medicine, toiletry items and maps particularly of evacuation routes; there will be comfort stations set up along the way with restroom facilities, bottled water and maps.
  • Do move your vehicle in case of a minor collision or vehicle trouble to avoid further congesting the main evacuation routes.
  • Do not block emergency lanes or medians because emergency vehicles will be using these. Also, please do not stop to talk with law enforcement officers working traffic; this seriously impedes traffic and could cause a collision.
  • Do help keep the Highway Patrol Communications lines open for true emergencies; please do not dial *HP is unless you have a true emergency.
  • Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places such as the following: a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items:

  • First aid kit and essential medications.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • At least three gallons of water per person.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

Prepare for High Winds

  • Install hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs and then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.

Know What to Do When a Hurricane WATCH Is Issued

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
  • Fill your car's gas tank.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.

Know What to Do When a Hurricane WARNING Is Issued

  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over (Exercise extreme caution when returning home)

  • Do keep a copy of the evacuation routes. These routes are posted on the DPS web site at http://www.sctraffic.org/ along with other traffic information. You will still need to reference those as you return.
  • Do not attempt to take shortcuts on alternate routes to get home. Stay with the planned re-entry routes. Law enforcement priority will be given to the planned routes.
  • Do consider waiting hours or a day later to begin re-entry if you are traveling with small children, the elderly or people who have special medical needs.
  • Do expect heavy, slow-moving traffic along re-entry routes. Officers will be at intersections and in line patrols to direct traffic and manage traffic emergencies. DOT will have incident management vehicles deployed as well.
  • Do verify that your vehicle is in good working order, checking to make sure the gas tank is full and the tire pressure, oil levels and lights are in working order.
  • Do take food, water, medicine, toiletry items and maps particularly of evacuation routes; there will be comfort stations set up along the way with restroom facilities, bottled water and maps.
  • Do move your vehicle in case of a minor collision or vehicle trouble to avoid further congesting the main evacuation routes.
  • Do not block emergency lanes or medians because emergency vehicles will be using these. Also, please do not stop to talk with law enforcement officers working traffic; this seriously impedes traffic and could cause a collision.
  • Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or TV stations for instructions.
  • If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid flood situations. Remember: If you encounter flood waters, do not think of trying to cross them. Eighty percent of flood deaths happen to people in vehicles. Just two feet of rapidly moving water can float a bus, and it only takes 6 inches to knock you off your feet.
  • If flood waters follow a hurricane, turn around, avoid them, go to higher ground.
  • Bring necessities such as food and water with you when you return.
  • Beware Of Hazards
    • Watch for snakes and other animals forced into your home by flood waters.
    • Watch for downed power lines and give them a wide berth.
    • Check your refrigerator for spoilage, but keep your water. It may be some time before you can rely on the quality of your tap water.
    • To prevent accidental fires, use flashlights, not candles, to see if the power is on or off after a hurricane. (More people die from candle-related fires after a disaster strikes then from the disaster itself.)
    • If your home has been spared, keep children and pets inside.
    • If pets must be walked outside, keep them on a leash.
  • Repairing The Damage
    • Wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing as you begin cleaning up.
    • Check for structural damage in your home.
    • Have a professional check your water, gas, electric, and sewer lines.
    • If your home has sustained water damage, call your local chapter of the American Red Cross to get your copy of their booklet, "Repairing Your Flooded Home."
  • Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.

From "Are You Ready For A Hurricane." developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.



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