Getting Ready: Hurricane Florence

The SC Emergency Management Division has advised that South Carolina prepare for Hurricane Florence and Governor McMaster has declared a state of emergency.

“This storm is too powerful and its path is too uncertain to take any chances. We are mobilizing the state’s resources to make sure we are prepared, and the people of South Carolina must not hesitate to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane impacting our coast.”

Henry McMaster

Governor, South Carolina

As the storm continues to approach, the synod office will continue to pray and work to be a resource in the days ahead. Pastors and congregational leaders, please keep us informed of developments as they arise.

South Carolina Emergency Management Division Resources


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HURRICANE GUIDE
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NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
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Getting Ready: How do I become a 72 Hour Lutheran?

Being prepared to take care of your own family and your own congregational members allows you to then reach out and help others within your community. Here are some things that you can do to get ready:

  1. Make sure you and your family have all the necessary supplies to be a “72 Hour Lutheran”.
  2. If your congregation is evacuated, let the synod office know where you are going. Please include a contact number, address, and the name of a local contact.
  3. Once a hurricane hits your area, please contact us, 803-765-0590, and let us know how you are doing.
  4. Make sure you have a system to check on the elderly and their caregivers, being certain that they have a plan to evacuate or shelter in place with food and supplies. Also, include checking on single parents or parents who work in emergency (EMS, medical personnel, fire fighters), who may not be home during a hurricane leaving a spouse and children with needs.
  5. Plan to respond to needs in your own community once you have cared for your members. Simple responses like offering a place for cell phone charging if you have a generator, child care for parents whose homes are impacted, cold water, grills to cook food (that would spoil in the freezer), or crews to cut trees and help families are all ways to be the church during the first week of recovery.
  6. Protect congregational records and equipment by wrapping them in plastic, moving items away from windows, and setting them, if possible, on higher ground.

How do I become a 72 Hour Lutheran?

A 72 Hour Lutheran is a person who happens to be Lutheran and has enough supplies in their home to meet their household’s basic needs for 72 hours.

Checklist

  • Discuss the type of hazards that could affect your family. Know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
  • Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances, the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
  • If necessary, determine an escape route from your home and designate places to meet. (Note: these should be measured in tens of miles, rather than hundreds of miles.) Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact so all your family members have a single point of contact.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
  • Call the church and make sure that they have all your information.
  • Create a disaster supply kit
  • Proper identification
  • Immunization records
  • Medications
  • Moisture wipes
  • Flashlight/Batteries
  • Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Telephones
  • Full charged cell phone with extra battery
  • A traditional (not cordless) telephone set
  • Cash (with small bills)
  • Extra keys
  • Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tank (kept filled)
  • Pet care items
  • Stock up on non-perishable emergency supplies
  • Juices
  • Snack foods
  • Foods for infants or the elderly
  • Cooking tools
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Fuel
  • Paper plates and plastic utensils
  • First-aid kit
  • Medicines
  • Prescriptions
  • Toiletries
  • Hygiene items

(This article has been adapted from Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod and is used with permission.)

Hurricane IT Preparation

  1. Document your systems, configurations & vendors.
  2. Scan or make waterproof any key paper documents.
  3. Back up all data to removable media.
  4. Back up all data to an off-site location.
  5. Power down & unplug equipment if threat is imminent.
  6. Protect equipment. Get items off floor and away from windows and wrap items in plastic sheeting or garbage bags to avoid water damage.
  7. Find a secondary location for servers during recovery.
  8. Have adequate uninterruptible power supplies.
  9. Change office phone greetings and call routing if you’re closing during a storm.
  10. DO NOT plug in any equipment or cabling that has been wet, including wireless routers, access points and switches.

After storms, the most common issue our customers have faced through the years is having insufficient data backups. Your data should be backed up to an off-site secure data center and be able to be reloaded within a few hours.

(This article has been adapted from Blencowe IT, a company the synod office has worked with, and is used with permission.)

A prayer for those in the storms path

Merciful God, when the storms rage and threaten to overtake us, awaken our faith to know the power of your peace. Deliver us from our fear and ease our anxiety. Help us to endure the time of uncertainty and give us strength to face the challenges ahead. Give us the assurance of your presence even in this time so that we can cling to your promise of hope and life shown to us through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

adapted from ELW Pastoral care, page 174

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