The Atlantic hurricane season kicked off June 1 and will continue through Nov. 30. It is important that we all take the time to prepare.

Below are some basic steps you can take to prepare yourself or your business.

Personal Preparedness

  • Gather and store valuable documents such as mortgage notes, deeds, licenses, house plans, property tax receipts, insurance documents, etc.
  • Take photos or a video of your home, boat, automobiles and belongings and take a copy with you when you evacuate (this is very important for insurance).
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans or anything else that is not tied down.
  • Consider moving valuable items to a higher elevation inside your home.
  • Turn off utilities and close interior doors.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Gather nonperishable food items such as drinking water (one gallon per day per person), flashlights, first-aid kits, battery-powered radio, toilet paper, camera and film, disposable washcloths, and cash.
  • Make sure you have two weeks worth of any prescription medications.
  • Pack items (games and toys) to keep children entertained.
  • Plan where you will go in case of evacuation. Know your route and have an alternate plan. Leave early.
  • Make a list of important telephone numbers to take with you such as your insurance company, family doctors, veterinarian, etc.
  • Pack pet supplies and medications.
  • Stay informed in case a storm appears to be approaching the area.

For Hilton Head Island information, sign up for emergency alerts and download the Citizens Guide to Emergency Preparedness at www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov. Follow the information on Twitter @HHIEmergency.

For Bluffton information, visit www.townofbluffton.sc.gov for updates.

For additional preparedness information, countywide evacuation maps and preparation brochures, visit www.bcgov.net.

Business Preparedness

Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.

  • Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
  • Plan what you will do if your building or store is not accessible. Can you run your business from another location or from your home?
  • Develop a business continuity plan.
  • Document, photograph or record on video possessions for insurance purposes.
  • Encourage your employees to be prepared.
  • Have a communications plan to maintain contact with your employees.

For additional business preparedness information visit www.ready.gov/ business.

Cinda Seamon is the fire and life safety educator for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue.