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Red Cross Urges Families to Prepare for Tropical Storm Hermine

Little girl holding Red Cross blanket in a Red Cross shelter
We are encouraging our friends and neighbors to take steps now to minimize the impact of Hermine

Tropical Storm Hermine is forecasted to hit South Carolina tomorrow, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds, with the potential for flooding, downed trees, and power outages. The Red Cross has been preparing and is urging families in South Carolina to get ready now. 

“We want everyone to be safe before, during, and after the storm,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the American Red Cross of South Carolina. “That’s why we are encouraging our friends and neighbors to take steps now, before the storm arrives, to minimize the impact of Hermine on their families.” 

For the latest updates and additional preparedness information, follow the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross on Twitter at @RedCrossSC.  

GET READY FOR STORMS NOW 

Those in the path of Hermine should prepare now. The Red Cross has three steps people can follow - build a kit, make a plan and be informed

An emergency kit should include a gallon of water per person, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. Remember family members with special medical needs and plan how you will care for your pets. 

The Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist is available to learn more about what to do if a hurricane might affect your community. For more information on hurricane safety, visit the preparedness section of our web site.

POWER OUTAGES AND GENERTAOR SAFETY 

Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing your perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.·          

Food Safety During a Power Outage

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator (an unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours), then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.

If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.

Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times. 

Electrical Equipment During a Blackout

Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.

Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.

Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested. 

Safe Generator Use

Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use. If you are using a generator while your power is out, ensure that the generator is in an open area. Never use a portable generator indoors, such as inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. It is a good idea to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Test the batteries frequently and replace when needed. 

The Red Cross Power Outage Checklist and Safe Generator Use Checklist are available to learn more about what to do and how to stay safe during a power outage. 

FLOOD SAFETY

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. 

Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov

The Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist is available to learn more about how to prepare for and recover from a flood.   

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP

Another resource for download is the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of hurricanes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The app includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps

About the American Red Cross:The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/sc or follow us on Twitter at @RedCrossSC