Summer has arrived in full swing, bringing with it out door fun, mosquitoes and lots of heavy rain – reminding citizens hurricane season is well underway. If the year so far has been a sign for what is to come, now is the time to be ready. 

But before you call Noah for instructions on how to build the ark, follow these steps to get prepared.

First, if evacuation orders are given, pack essentials and valuables and leave for a safer location.

“My biggest concern is for the citizens who are asked to evacuate, but won’t leave,” said Charlton County EMA/EMS Director Bruce Young. “Please leave.”

Those choosing to “hunker down” should keep in mind, under certain conditions, the emergency department cannot respond. 

“If the wind is 45 miles per hour, we can’t respond. Bridges are also closed under those conditions,” said Young.

Citizens wishing to stay, should check off items from the following list provided by the National Hurricane Center:

• Water: One gallon, per person, per day, for three days

• Non perishable food: enough for three days

• Flashlight(s)

• Battery powered radio

• Extra batteries

• A first aid kit

• Extra medications

• A multipurpose tool (like a Swiss Army Knife)

• Sanitary or personal hygiene products

• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)

• Cell phone and chargers

• Family and emergency contact information

• Extra cash

• Emergency blanket

• Map of the area

• Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers, etc…)

• Pet supplies (leashes, collar with ID, food carrier, bowl, food)

• Tools and supplies for securing the home

• Extra set of car keys and house keys

• Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes

• Insect repellant and sun screen

• Camera for taking pictures of hurricane damage

It is recommended you give yourself at lest 36 hours prior to the estimated arrival time of the storm.

Other recommendations include setting your refrigerator/freezer at the coldest setting; filling gallon jugs with water and freezing them; clean your bathtub with bleach; and preparing a safe room.

 

There are also steps to take to help keep your home’s structure safe as well: use plywood to board up windows; secure roof shingles; use caulking to fill in any cracks; and install a one-inch deadbolt on exterior doors. 

One of the most important members of a family is a pet. Citizens following evacuation orders should check in advance if the location they’re staying in will allow animals. If you are forced to leave your pet behind, reserve space at an animal clinic or boarding kennel. Call early, as space maybe limited. If a kennel is not available, allow your pet to stay in a carrier in an interior closet or bathroom with an ample supply of drinking water and food. Include other familiar items such as chew toys, blankets, and other comforting items.

Hurricane preparations this year may be a little extra stressful due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given social distancing guidelines, allow yourself more time to get ready for an approaching storm. If possible, shoppers should use home-delivery options for non-perishable items and medications. If those options are not available, shoppers should continue using social distancing and other safety measures to protect themselves and their loves ones from the virus.

It is important to follow any directions given by local authorities working for your safety. You can stay up to date on storm conditions by signing up for the Code Red alert system through the county. The emergency system sends text alerts, phone calls, or emails alerting citizens on local emergencies. You can go to the county website at charltoncountyga.us and the option will be on the home page at the top left of the page.