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How to prepare for a hurricane

After loading the back of her vehicle with food Maria Minier loads a recently purchased wood panel to be used in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
After loading the back of her vehicle with food Maria Minier loads a recently purchased wood panel to be used in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. AP

Are you ready for a hurricane?

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 Hurricane in the Atlantic is churning towards Florida. The most recent tracking models show the storm heading toward South Carolina and Gov. McMaster declared a state of emergency Wednesday in preparation for the storm.

Here’s what you need to know Hurricane Irma hits.

Know your zone:

Orders to evacuate are usually issued by zones, denoted by zones A, B, and C.

In Myrtle Beach, Zone A is closest to the shore, generally located on the ocean side of Kings Highway. Zone B generally falls between Kings Highway and and Highway 17 Bypass and Zone C is west of the bypass.

A detailed map of the zones, complete with evacuation routes and shelters can be found online.

zones
Red is Zone A, Yellow is Zone B and Orange is Zone C. Courtesy, Horry County Emergency Management

Protecting the home:

To help prevent damage to your home, Horry County Emergency Management recommends sealing up your home — boarding up the windows, closing and bracing your garage door, and sealing up any opening where wire or pipes enter the home.

Residents should make sure their trees or shrubs are pruned — just make sure branches are discarded before the storm hits, or they may be blown around by the storm and cause more damage.

Protecting your pets:

If you have pets, it’s important to have a plan in place in order to keep them safe throughout a hurricane. Supplies such as food, water and a crate should be purchased ahead of time, as well as any vaccinations.

“This storm, if it hits us, the best thing is just to leave town with your pet,” Dean Anderson, a veterinarian at Grand Strand Animal Hospital, said. “Definitely keep them inside where you can get to them if something bad does happen.”

Anderson does not recommend boarding pets in a place where the storm will hit, due to the possibility of something happening to the facility where the pets are staying.

Riding out the storm:

According to ready.gov, anyone riding out a storm should have an emergency kit with supplies to last up to 72 hours.

Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food and water. Remember that electricity may go out, so foods stored in a refrigerator or freezer could go bad.

People should have at least one gallon of water per person per day.

Other items people should have to ride out a storm include:

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

In addition, make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of cash in case of an evacuation, because gas stations and banks may not be open.

According the Federal Emergency Management Agency, families should have a communication plan during a hurricane, with out-of-town contacts and phone numbers for everyone in the family.

Make sure you have a place to meet after a hurricane in case you get separated from your friends or family, and have phone numbers physically written down in case you have to use a pay phone.

Helpful resources:

If you’re tracking a storm, or trying to recover from a storm, there are a number of helpful websites, phone numbers and apps you should know about

Tracking the storm:

Hurricanes can be tracked via the National Hurricane Center, or free apps such as the Hurricane Tracker app from the Hearst Corporation or the NOAA Now app.

Finding a shelter:

If a mandatory evacuation order is given, 15 Horry County schools will be opened as shelters. Collectively, the school can hold 13,416 people. The schools are:

  • Aynor middle, elementary and high schools
  • Blackwater Middle School
  • Conway High School
  • Green Sea Floyds elementary, middle and high school
  • Loris elementary, middle and high school
  • North Myrtle Beach High School
  • Palmetto Bay Elementary School
  • Pee Dee Elementary School
  • Whittemore Park Middle School

Flooding:

Last year, several counties in South Carolina experienced major flooding from the rains that came with Hurricane Matthew.

Only 12 percent 1,605,700 households in South Carolina have flood insurance, according to the the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program in the state.

And if you haven’t bought flood insurance yet, it may be too late to cover any flooding this month. There’s typically a 30-day waiting period before the flood insurance goes into effect.

Christian Boschult: 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic

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