News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Observes National Hurricane Preparedness Month

May 15, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In advance of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is joining partners in observing Hurricane Preparedness Month throughout the month of May.  

“Some climate researchers are forecasting a busier than average season this year, estimating five major hurricanes to develop among some 23 total named storms,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “As our state is especially vulnerable to hurricane impacts, it is critical for all South Carolinians to start their preparations early, to avoid finding yourself in a pinch at the last minute.” 

In observance of National Hurricane Preparedness Month, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) to promote a hurricane safety campaign for South Carolina residents and business. Property and business owners can find a wealth of information on different elements of hurricane preparedness on the NWS website

DHEC recommends the following five critical components of preparation before hurricane season begins:  

  • Develop or review your family’s evacuation plan. If you and your family had to evacuate your home, do you know where you would go and how you would get there? What will you do about your pets? Remember that emergency services may not be able to reach you during a storm, and hospitals and other facilities may be closed, so evacuating when directed by officials is the safest course. 
  • Stock up on disaster supplies like non-perishable food, water, batteries and medicine now, before these items become in short supply. Current guidance recommends maintaining at least a three-day supply of food, water and medicine for each member of the family. Don’t overlook the pet food, too! Visit The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Build a Kit webpage for additional suggestions. 
  • Document your significant possessions. Photographs and serial numbers may be useful in the event you have to file an insurance claim. If you reside in a flood-prone area, you may wish to consider purchasing flood insurance and be mindful of the 30-day waiting period. 
  • Create or review your family’s communication plan. Remember that the internet and wireless networks may not be accessible during or after a storm, so ensure that your family has another means of connecting with one another. Visit FEMA’s Make a Plan webpage for additional guidance. 
  • Ensure your home is ready to withstand hurricane impacts. Trim those tree branches that could break windows or damage your roof. Seal any gaps and cracks in the outside wall. While you need not board the windows up now, you may wish to consider purchasing a few sheets of plywood or aluminum panels to keep on hand. You can find additional tips for preparing the home on FEMA’s website
  • If a storm does come, be sure to listen to guidance from officials after the storm passes to stay safe. For example, avoid contact with flood waters, watch for downed power lines, and be cautious of falling limbs from trees. 

Residents of South Carolina’s coastal areas are also advised to refamiliarize themselves with their evacuation zone, some of which have changed this year, and their area’s vulnerability to storm surges.  

“In the event of an impending storm, state and local authorities will announce evacuations by one or more of the predesignated zones along the state’s coastline,” Simmer said. “Residents are encouraged to brush up on how their area will be affected during a storm on the SCEMD Know Your Zone webpage.” 

Residents are encouraged to download SCEMD’s official mobile app, SC Emergency Manager, on the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The mobile app contains links to many of the websites listed above as well as other useful tools and resources, and coastal residents can determine their evacuation zone based off their phone’s location.  

In addition, SCEMD recently launched a new online home dedicated to hurricane preparedness. South Carolina residents can view additional information and resources at

For more on hurricane preparedness, including steps to take before, during and after a hurricane, visit DHEC’s Hurricanes and Floods webpage.  



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