What's your preparedness plan? Don't get caught with just bread and milk during a severe weather event

Von Gaskin's Sept. 19 noon weather forecast, Florence now a category 4 hurricane

(WIS) - A weather event like a tornado, hurricane, and flash flooding can happen in an instant.

But even when it snows, is your first thought to run to your local grocery store and stock up on bread and milk? A handful of government agencies say it shouldn't be.

National Preparedness Month is in September - but it's best to be weather ready and prepared year-round. FEMA and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division has a number of resources for residents to apply if a severe weather event turns disastrous.

"Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but in many cases, they will not be able to reach everyone right away. You need to be ready to take care of yourself and your family for up to three days," SCEMD says on their website.

SCEMD says for your local areas, here is some information to ask your local office:

  • What types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area.
  • If your community has warning signals or sirens, know what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
  • Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
  • Find out how you can help people with functional needs until first responders arrive.

In South Carolina, it's important to know your zone. SCEMD has a section on their website folks in the Midlands, Lowcountry, Pee Dee, and the Upstate can utilize for best routes and how your areas are affected during storms.

Here are some resources listed from SCEMD:

BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE WIS WEATHER APP FOR INSTANT UPDATES ON THIS WEEK'S WEATHER

SEARCH "WIS WEATHER" IN YOUR APP STORE OR USE THIS LINK: http://bit.ly/2iZtJrC

And being up to speed with life-saving tools is also important.

"Take time to learn lifesaving skills − such as CPR and first aid, check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face, such as flood, earthquakes, and tornadoes," the National Preparedness Month website suggests. "Make sure to consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency. Also, know how to take practical safety steps like shutting off water and gas."

Weather terms to know

  • Watches mean severe weather is possible - just be weather ALERT.
  • Warnings mean severe weather is happening and you need to go to a safe place. In a tornado warning, it's a small room, lowest floor, near the center, and away from windows.
  • Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.
  • Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
  • Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines.
  • Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.

Take a look at this checklist from FEMA on emergency supplies and keep one in your home and car.

"To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag," FEMA suggests.

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