Staying informed and connected to family and friends, especially during severe weather or hurricane season is a top priority. As our area continues to battle the spread of COVID-19, it’s even more important to plan ahead for how your family will handle hurricane evacuations if a major storm threatens our coast.
In light of COVID-19, Horry County is making changes to its shelter program in the event of a major storm. Three schools have been added to the list of possible shelters, but keeping beds six feet apart to comply with socially distancing means county shelters can take in only 6,000 residents compared to the normal 8,000. As your family creates a communication and evacuation plan, keep in mind that shelters will fill more quickly, so you may need to modify your plan accordingly.
In addition, anyone seeking refuge at an Horry County shelter will be asked to fill out a COVID-19 questionnaire provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those exhibiting signs of the virus will be quarantined in a separate area managed by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). County officials urge families to make evacuation arrangement plans now. Shelters should be used as a last resort.
Finally, Horry County Emergency Management officials confirm that public shelters will only be available in Horry County for Category 1 storms or below. Storms that hit a Category 2 strength or above will close all Horry County shelters. Those needing a safe place will be bussed to an inland location.
HTC wants you to know before severe storms hit our area, we take necessary precautions to protect our equipment and support you with reliable service.
HTC teams place sand bags around our retail offices and remote stations to protect the equipment that provides you with high-speed internet, home phone use, and other telecommunication services. We also prepare our generators to be available and ready to use in a time of need.
Lastly, we prepare for any outages caused by severe storms by assembling teams that work 24/7 to monitor disruptions in service. We deploy those teams as soon as it’s safe for our employees to travel to remote stations and make the needed repairs to restore service.
HTC is dedicated to creating a storm preparation plan that keeps our employees safe and keeps you connected to those who matter most. Your cooperative wants the same for your family. Follow our five simple steps to prep for the 2020 hurricane season.
- First, be sure your cellphones and other mobile devices are fully charged. Have extra or chargeable batteries as backups or have an external battery charger on hand for additional usage.
- Second, consider a quality surge protector for your home. A whole-house surge protector will guard against power surges caused by lightning or downed power lines. Without this protection, electronics and appliances in your home are susceptible to major damage from extreme bolts of electricity.
- Third, build a family communication plan. Be sure everyone’s cell phones have the correct phone numbers for out of area family members, and choose a point of contact for all family members to contact if they become separated.
- Fourth, if flooding is a concern, move your electronics and HTC equipment to a higher room in your home, like the second floor or attic, if possible.
- Lastly, backup important data from your computer, phones and cameras on external hard drives or thumb drives. The cloud is ideal for saving all your info so you don’t have to worry about protecting the equipment.
Preparing now will help you better protect your family when major storms approach our community.