**Note new items below with red dates.
With the potential of Hurricane Irma impacting South Carolina next week, we wanted to put together some information that may help families prepare for the storm. For the most up-to-date information, please check your local news or visit the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management. You may also consult the SC-EMD’s Hurricane Guide, which can be found here.
Although we do not know if or where Irma may hit, the State has declared a state of emergency, and recommends that residents begin preparing.
If a mandatory evacuation occurs and you decide to stay, you could be stuck for many days, and first responders may be unable to reach you. Please take evacuation orders seriously and follow recommendations from emergency officials.
Comfort objects will be especially important during this stressful time. Whether it’s a special toy, weighted blanket, electronic device, or something else, be sure to have it on-hand. Plan for power outages that could occur, and have extra batteries on-hand. Rechargeable power blocks are available at most stores that sell electronics, and can be helpful for keeping those phones and iPads charged.
SC-EMD recommends the following basic disaster supplies:
For citizens with disabilities, the SC-EMD recommends the following additional steps:
- In addition to gathering your medications, make a complete list of all the medicines you take and the doctor prescribing them. Include all these items in your kit that you will take with you when you must evacuate. You should be prepared to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.
- Plan your evacuation. Know where you are going and how you will get there.
- Make your plans known to those in your support network. Have a point of contact outside your area that you can contact with your evacuation information. Implement your plan immediately upon notification. Allow adequate time to ensure you reach safety well ahead of the storm.
- Stay informed about what is happening and what public officials are asking citizens to do. Be prepared to follow their instructions.
- Ask for help if you need it. Contact your local emergency management office. Some offices maintain a registry of people who need assistance so they can be located or assisted quickly in a disaster. If this type of assistance is not available in your area, this information will help you in knowing what you need to do to be prepared.
- Citizens with disabilities and/or functional needs should be especially vigilant as they plan for emergencies and evacuations. Planning ahead is the key. Early evacuation can lessen the stress on the individual and their support network and ensure safety.
- Talk to neighbors, family or caregivers about how to protect your home and belongings from wind and water damage. Buy flood insurance, if appropriate. If you have a serious medical condition, talk to your doctor about your plans for dealing with an emergency and seek medical advice on a recommended course of action.
- Review the Hurricane Preparation Checklists in the guide and consider any additional needs you may have like batteries for hearing aids and similar devices, extra oxygen tanks, electrical backups for medical equipment and special dietary requirements.
The following are additional links for resources that may be helpful to families affected by autism.
- CARD Suggested Items for Autism Evacuation Kit.
- Future Horizons Hurricane Social Stories.
- Autism Speaks Hurricane Tips & Resources.
- Lowcountry Autism Foundation Hurricane Social Stories. (added 9/6/17)
- South Carolina Department of Emergency Management
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- How to Prepare for a Hurricane (Department of Homeland Security)
- Report Power Outages
- SCDOT Road Conditions
- Know Your Zone (Flood Zone & Evacuation Info)
- School Closings
- Pet Planning