In extreme emergencies, Florence County may advise you by means of emergency broadcast radio or television to evacuate your home and seek shelter. When this happens, your first choice for shelter should always be a friend or relative's house in a safe area. When conditions prevent this, you should try to take refuge in a public disaster shelter operated by emergency management agencies. Florence County has designated a number of County buildings and schools as possible public shelters. The exact number and location of shelters opened will be determined based upon the emergency. Listen for local radio and television announcements on shelter locations and opening time. Do not go to a shelter before it is open.
Public shelters are little more than basic survival facilities, so when going to a shelter be prepared to bear the inconveniences of shelter life and to cooperate with officials to get you and your family through the storm. When preparing to live in a shelter, consider the following:
- Bring a Disaster Supply Kit, which includes water and canned food, a change of clothing, bedding materials, medication and first aid supplies, battery-powered radio and flashlight, toiletries, and personal identification. None of these amenities are guaranteed to be available in public shelters.
- No smoking, alcohol, weapons, or disruptive behavior are allowed in the shelter.
- Work with shelter officials to maintain a 24-hour communications and safety watch. Take turns listening for radio broadcasts and watching for dangers that could threaten the shelter.
- If necessary, improvise an emergency toilet using a garbage container, pail, or bucket with a snug-fitting cover. If the container is small, use a larger container with a cover for waste disposal. Line the containers with plastic bags. After each use, add a small amount of regular household disinfectant, such as chlorine bleach, to the container to reduce odors and germs.
- Make arrangements for your pets before going to a public shelter. Due to health reasons, pets are not allowed in public shelters.
Work with shelter officials and the others staying in the shelter. Living with many people in a confined space for a period anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks can be difficult, but with cooperation comes survival. Always stay in your shelter until local authorities say it's okay to leave. For more information on emergency procedures, please call the Florence County Emergency Preparedness Department at 843-665-7255.