When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act.  Citizens need to prepare before there is an emergency to insure safety.  The Florence County Emergency Preparedness Department knows what disasters are most common in the area and how to prepare for them.  They offer free brochures that have comprehensive information about disaster situations.  The office is located at 6719 Friendfield Road, Effingham.  For more information, call them at 843-665-7255.

The City of Florence Emergency Disaster Preparedness Office has prepared a checklist for you to use as a first step for identifying the information you will need to be prepared.  Discuss these items with your family, then prepare emergency plans for each situation.  Post the plan where everyone will see it like the refrigerator or bulletin board.

  • Learn about and discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.  Explain how to respond and stay safe during an emergency situation.
  • Find out how you would be warned of an emergency when it occurs.  Instruct household members to turn on the radio to emergency stations for information.
  • Plan escape routes from your home and set up meeting places outside.  Know local evacuation routes and proper evacuation procedures in case you must leave town.
  • Protect your home and property against damaging weather conditions.
  • Show responsible family members how to turn off the main water, gas, and electrical switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.  Choose one out-of-state and one local contact for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).  Teach children how and when to call these numbers.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit that includes a battery-power radio, flashlight, family records and valuables, food, water, and clothing.
  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
  • Make arrangements for your pets.  Pets are not allowed in public shelters.
  • Talk with employers and school officials about their emergency response plans.

Additionally, if you are or live with elderly or disabled persons, also consider the following steps:

  • Register with the Florence County Emergency Preparedness Department for special needs assistance.  Also, find out about any special assistance that may be available in your community.
  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, and friends to aid you in an emergency.  Discuss with them your needs and make sure they know how to operate any necessary equipment.
  • If you live in an apartment building, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly and to make arrangements to help you evacuate the building.
  • Keep extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, etc. available.  Also, keep a list of the type and serial numbers of medical devices you need.