Donna Dew, Emergency Management Director
141 North Main Street
Monday - Friday
The Sumter County Emergency Management Office:
- Develops and tests plans for use during emergencies.
- Assists individuals with Title III compliance matters.
- Is responsible for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from natural or man-made disasters. The department manages the county Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during disasters.
Create a Family Disaster Plan:
A well thought out plan will allow you to assess the situation, use common sense and assist in the safety of yourself and loved ones. To create a plan, discuss what your family will do during different emergency situations; explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children; practice aspects of your plan with your children.
Key Elements of a Family Disaster Plan:
- Household Information - contact numbers, identification, and unique needs for each member
- Out-of-town Contact - in an emergency it might be easier to text or call to a person who lives in another town, county, or state. Designate someone to take roll and relay information to the rest of the family
- School and Work - Learn about the emergency plans at your workplace and children's schools
- Meeting Places - Designate at least 2 locations to meet; 1 should be in your own neighborhood and the other should be outside your neighborhood
- Pet Arrangements - Consider where your pet can evacuate; many hotels and evacuation shelters do not allow pets
- Medications and Unique Needs - Plan for any special medical needs your family may require
- Make sure you have adequate cash on hand as power outages make ATMs inaccessible.
Create a Disaster Supply Kit:
Families should be prepared to survive at least 3 - 5 days without any outside assistance, power, or internet.
The kit should include:
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries
- Solar Powered NOAA Weather Radio
- First Aid Kit
- Food and Water (3 to 5 days worth)
- Non-Electric Can Opener
- Essential Medical Needs
- Pet Food and Leash
- Phone Chargers
Review Insurance Coverage
Residents should know what will be covered if they sustain losses during a disaster. Here a few things to ask your insurance agent about:
- Flood Insurance - Normally not offered by regular insurers; takes 30 days to go into effect
- Windstorms - Check with your insurer about what would and would not be covered
- Household Belongings - create an inventory of household belongings in order to have proof of ownership in the event of extreme loss/damage
- Earthquakes - Check with your insurer about earthquake coverage
- Additional Living Expense - Provides aid if you cannot live in your home after a disaster
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and can move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. They cause a significant amount of damage and can result in injuries and loss of life. Almost 50% of deaths associated with hurricanes are caused by storm surge; 40% of deaths are due to inland flooding and around 10% are wind-related.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October.
Before A Hurricane -- Basic Preparedness Tips
- Know where to go and locate multiple places you can stay.
- Put together a Go-Bag or Disaster Supply Kit. Include a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information
- Not in an Evacuation Zone? Obtain adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days. You may not be able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Make a Family Emergency Plan.
Prepare Your Home
- Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows, and doors, including the garage doors.
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages.
- Keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside
- At least 20 feet away from windows and doors
- Protect them from moisture
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet
- Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.
Hurricane Watch = conditions possible within the next 48 hrs.
Steps to take:
- Review your plans & listen to local officials
- Check items in your disaster supply kit
- Obtain any items needed to meet unique household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities, individuals with access and functional needs, or pets
Hurricane Warning = conditions are expected within 36 hrs.
Steps to take:
- Follow orders from local officials
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media
- Execute Your Plan
36 Hours From Storm Arrival - What To Do
- Turn on your TV or radio listen for the latest weather updates and emergency instructions
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies
- Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
- Keep your car in good working condition
- Fill your vehicle's gas tank
- Stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes
18-36 Hours From Storm Arrival - What To Do
- Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds such as patio furniture and garbage cans
- Anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside such as propane tanks
- Trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building
- Cover all of your home’s windows.
- Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows
- An alternative is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit
6-18 Hours From Storm Arrival - What To Do
- Turn on your TV and radio to obtain current weather and emergency information
- Charge your cell phone and extra battery power packs
6 Hours From Storm Arrival - What To Do
- Let friends and family know where you are if you do not live in an evacuation zone and you plan to stay at home
- Close storm shutters, stay away from windows, and shelter in an interior windowless room
- Flying glass from broken windows can cause injuries
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary
- Food will last longer if there is a power outage
- Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to check the food temperature when the power is restored
- Turn on your TV and radio for the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
After A Hurricane
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions
- Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media
- Watch out for and avoid debris and downed power lines
- Do not walk or drive through flood waters
- Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away
- Flood water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines
- Flood water can hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property (e.g. put a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm
Every Business Should Have A Plan
Plan to Stay in Business
Both man-made and natural hazards pose a threat to large and small businesses.
- Your organization's risk needs will vary according to the specific industry, size, scope, and location of your company.
- Review your business process flow chart to identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
- Assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
- Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team.
- Make a list of your most important customers and proactively plan ways to serve them during and after a disaster.
- Identify key suppliers, shippers, resources, and businesses you must interact with on a daily basis.
Emergency Planning for Employees
- Your employees are your business' most valuable asset. Two-way communication is central before, during, and after a disaster.
- Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company's intranet, in periodic employee emails, and other communication tools.
- Plan to assist employees with special needs if they require additional support.
- Besides the storing everyday emergency supplies on site, businesses should keep copies of important records in a waterproof, fireproof portable container.
- Site Maps
- Building Plans
- Insurance Policies
- Employee Information
- Bank Account Records
- Supplier and Shipping Record Lists
- Emergency Phone Numbers.
- Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
Planning to Stay or Go
- All disasters present unique situations so have a plan for:
- Lives can be saved based on an organization's ability to evacuate employees, customers, and visitors.
- Establish evacuation procedures for each building.
- If your company is in an industrial park, or strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
- Understand the differences between sheltering-in-place for a tornado and chemical incident.
Talk to Your People
Practice the Plan with Co-workers
- Conduct regularly scheduled education and training seminars to provide co-workers with information, identify needs, and develop preparedness skills.
- Include disaster training in new employee orientation programs.
Promote Family and Individual Preparedness
- Ensure your employees and their families are personally prepared for emergencies.
- Proper personal preparedness will make your employees more resilient, and they will be able to come back to work sooner.
Write a Crisis Communication Plan
- Detail how your organization plans to communicate with employees, local authorities, customers, and others before, during, and after a disaster.
Support Employee Health After a Disaster
- Staff may need time to ensure the well-being of their family.
- Returning back to work is important to the personal recovery of those affected by disasters.
Protect Your Investment
Review Insurance Coverage
- Insurance policies vary, so check with your agent about:
- Physical Losses
- Flood Coverage
- Business Interruption
- Earthquake Coverage
- Understand what your policy covers and what it does not.
Prepare for Utility Disruptions
- Speak with service providers about potential alternatives.
- Identify backup options such as portable generators to power the vital operations of your business.
Secure Facilities, Buildings, and Plants
- Install fire extinguishers and smoke detectors in appropriate places.
- Secure ingress and egress areas.
- Secure valuable equipment and merchandise
- Continually maintain your building's heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.
Improve Cyber Security
- Use updated anti-virus software.
- Do not open email/mail from unknown sources.
- Use lengthy passwords with unique characters.
- Protect your computers with firewalls.
- Back up your digital data regularly.
- Subscribe to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Alert System to receive free, timely alerts.
Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters:
Other helpful links include:
Check out the SC EMP App in the Apple and Google stores -- it's free.
Sumter County Emergency Management Agency Online Weather :
Wedgefield Fire Station
Pinewood Fire Station
Rafting Creek Elementary School