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EDITORIAL: Let Elsa serve as a reminder to be prepared

on Monday, 12 July 2021. Posted in Editorials, Local News

EDITORIAL: Let Elsa serve as a reminder to be prepared
Although only a tropical storm that brought torrential rainfall to Florence and the surrounding area, Elsa also brought with it a reminder that the 2021 hurricane season is officially upon us and preparedness is a necessity. 
The first hurricane of the season, Elsa was downgraded to a tropical storm before it arrived in the Pee Dee. Yes, because of our location we face the threat of dangerous and damaging weather at this time nearly every year. Yes, many times we have prepared to be hit by a “big one” in the past only to find that the storm was not nearly as bad as forecast. If we are not careful, we can easily fall into the trap of not being ready in the event of a major hurricane. 
Don’t let that happen. 
We are forecast to have above-normal activity this hurricane season. Each year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases a predetermined list of 21 names that will be assigned to major storms. Elsa is the fifth name on that list.
We hope Elsa will serve as a nudge to do all those things you already know you need to do every hurricane season to prepare for the big one. This would include:
• Building an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multipurpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
• Talking with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
• Being informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan and use the South Carolina Hurricane Guide at https://scemd.org/stay-informed/publications/hurricane-guide/ to “Know Your Zone” for evacuations. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.
• Downloading the free American Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
Amid the rash of tropical storms in 2020, the impact on South Carolina was minimal. We were lucky. Don't count on things staying that way. Be as prepared as you can be.
 

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