Hurricane Hugo hit the Grand Strand of SC in September of 1989. Hurricane season is considered to be June 1st through November 30th. So, we are now in hurricane season. Maybe we have missed the "big one" this year... maybe not... There are a few things you should consider thinking about NOW, before the big one hits.
1. Drinking water -- do you have plenty of drinking water prepared for you and your family in case a hurricane or other bad storm or natural disaster were to strick the Pee Dee or Grand Strand area? Local utility companies like Grand Strand Water & Sewer Authority
say you need a FIVE DAY supply for everyone in your household. GSWSA recommends about one gallon of water per person per day for your family.
2. Clear your gutters -- it is a good practice to clear your gutters at least wtice a year to make sure they are free of debris like sticks and small limbs or leaves. Clogged gutters can cause heavy rainwater to puddle & collect in places that could cause leakage into your home. Another consequence, while not as dire as water getting inside your home, but nonetheless annoying, of blocked gutters is that your mulch or other landscaping bedding or mulch material will get washed out & displaced.
3. Communication -- if your home phone is down due to a long power outage, do you have an alternate cell phone? If your power is out for more than 24 hours, what would you do to charge your cell phone? One idea is to purchase a prepaid minutes phone, keep it charged, and use it only for emergency purposes.
4. Storm clean up -- the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) offers some safety tips for anyone recovering from a disaster such as a hurricane in the Grand Strand or Pee Dee area of South Carolina. Do not let "just anyone" enter your home; ask for proper identification before allowing a clean up company to do work for you or your loved ones. Also, do not give personal information to anyone. The elderly are typically the first to get taken advantage of, so please communicate these things with any older friends or family members. Companies that offer grinding services for municipalities or homeowners will probably appear out of no where if a hurricane hits the Grand Strand. Make sure you choose a reputable company like SB Mulch, Inc., who has a proven track record of doing good business in the coastal area of SC and NC. Ways to check the reliability of companies claiming to offer disaster relief are as follows:
- Check trucks / cars or business cards for local addresses and phone numbers
- Get more than one estimate for repairs or services
- Ask for copies of the contractor's General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance
- Don't pay in full for work until it is complete and has been inspected
5. Supplies -- many businesses or hardware stores will offer a "disaster sale" for supplies that are needed when a disaster like a hurricane happens. Consider what you may need (generator, hand-crank flashlight, water filters, first aid kit, personal hygiene kit, etc) NOW, before a hurricane strikes, and purchase these items during the off-season, or at least well before a named storm is forecast in the area. Chances are that the "sale" offered during or just following a disaster is not a sale at all. In fact, that is a time when many clean up companies would gouge prices to take advantage of those people who were not prepared.
6. Roof -- consider having a high-wind-rated roof cover securely fastened to your house with hurricane straps. This kind of strapping can be easy to install and relatively inexpensive when you think about what precious things are covered by the roof of your home. Do a simple visual inspection of your roof. Look for things like worn out or missing shingles or overhanging branches or trees that need to be removed.
7. Insurance -- review your insurance policies and decide if your insurance needs are being met shoulld a disaster strike your home or property. According to floodsmart.gov
, just 6 inches of flood water in a home could do more than $20,000 in damages to your residence.
None of us want a large storm or natural disaster to happen, especially one that requires extensive clean-up of trees or storm debris, but planning and preparation can help you withstand even the worst hurricane that could hit our