Living Here Guide

Living Here | Be prepared for future weather conditions now

Living along the Atlantic Ocean means residents should be prepared for nearly any natural disaster, including hurricanes and winter weather, according to authorities.

“If you are prepared for a hurricane you are prepared for any natural hazard we are going to face in Horry County,” said Rand Webster, Horry County’s Emergency Management director.

The Atlantic hurricane season goes from June 1 to Nov. 30, but being prepared all year is important since the Grand Strand is also vulnerable to winter weather such as the February 2014 ice storm that left thousands without power and closed area schools.

“If you were impacted by the ice storm, what did you learn from it? Does it really matter what caused the power outage? Did you have what you needed to survive that storm?” Webster said. “If you were prepared for that storm, you should be prepared for any other natural disasters.”

In February, two rounds of winter storms left freezing rain that downed numerous trees and made travel an icy hazard. Many businesses closed their doors because employees and customers couldn’t leave their homes.

Officials said having an emergency preparedness kit of basis disaster supplies ready for hurricane season can also mean you are prepared for other challenges such as a winter ice storm.

Webster and his staff recommend residents keep at least a gallon of water per person for three days on hand, non-perishable food, flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kit, extra medications and pet supplies in the event of a disaster.

“You are never too prepared, you are only under prepared,” Myrtle Beach Fire Lt. Christian Sliker said. “None of us can truly predict the weather. Mother Nature is very unpredictable.”

Sliker and area firefighters conduct hundreds of public education events annually to help residents get prepared for any disaster, he said. Many of those events are aimed at school-age children, who then urge their parents to get prepared.

“Our best advocate is children,” Sliker said. “They go home and tell their parents and start the family safety plan, which every person needs that lives in the area.”

Follow Tonya Root on Twitter @tonyaroot.