Tips on surviving the apocalypse from Lowcountry CERT


Planning Ahead

With the apocalypse a little more than a week away, we assume that many of you currently have a contingency plan, whether that’s hunkering down in your underground bunker or accepting your fate with brave humility. But if you’re utterly unprepared, these tips from the Lowcountry Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) may be invaluable.

The non-profit organization was established seven years ago, bringing together Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties and training roughly 700 members with free courses held throughout the year. CERT teaches people how to prepare for a disaster and how to manage a disaster once it happened. Lessons include everything from how to put out a small fire to searching and rescuing to preparing for chemical and biological disaster. CERT offers advice for handling hurricanes, earthquakes, and other acts of God, as well as tips for dealing with man-made disasters and acts of terrorism. “The CERT program is designed to give you the knowledge to be not an expert, but to be trained in how to deal in situations like this — mass confusion,” Chairman Tom Crosby says.

And we expect there will be much of that come Dec. 21. Keep these tips from Crosby in mind and you just might make it out alive. (Or you can just put them to use during the next hurricane season.)

1. Prepare a bucket kit. That’s a bucket of supplies, including food, water, and other necessities. You should have one in your house and one that you can take with you if you’re told to evacuate. Make sure to include emergency power sources (like flashlights and batteries), a first aid kit, and any prescription medications.

2. Keep informed. “Listen to your emergency management providers,” Crosby says. “That’s what their jobs are. If they say to evacuate, evacuate. Don’t wait until the last minute.”

3. Have a family plan, both for your immediate family and your extended one. That way everyone knows how to get in touch with each other once the disaster has subsided. “We always recommend that you have a contact possibly out of state that you can go to,” Crosby says. “All your friends should know those numbers too, so they can call and check on you by calling that person out of state.”

4. Don’t forget your valuable paperwork if you evacuate. You’ll need that stuff eventually, and you never know when you’ll be able to get back to your house — if you can get back at all.

5. Plan for pets. Pets need their own food and water and their own valuable paperwork (including documentation of rabies and other vaccinations). If these aren’t on hand when you arrive at an emergency shelter, they’re not going to let your pet in.

6. Avoid complacency. Just because Charleston hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane since Hugo or because those earthquakes that strike Summerville a couple of times a year are low on the Richter scale, that doesn’t mean disaster won’t strike one day. “You see on the news that Hurricane Sandy killed over 100 people in New York and New Jersey,” Crosby points out. “What killed those people in New York and New Jersey is they didn’t evacuate when they were told to evacuate.”

7. Know your neighbors. CERT courses are designed for homeowner associations and other neighborhood groups, so that they can hold down the fort if municipal aid is hard to come by. In Crosby’s own neighborhood (which went without power for three weeks after Hugo), they’ll check on the elderly, keep an eye on homes of people who’ve evacuated, and trade contact info so those who do evacuate know when it’s safe to come back. After a storm or other cataclysmic event, these groups can go out and assess the destruction and even start work on damaged structures.

8. Stay calm. And the best way to do that? By taking a CERT course, which you can sign up for at the organization’s website, lcert.org. Currently, there’s a waiting list for the courses (none of which are scheduled before the impending apocalypse), but FEMA offers similar courses for free online at training.fema.gov/is/nims.asp. But, as Crosby points out with a laugh, “If there’s an apocalypse or the end of the world, there’s really nothing you can do.”

Support the Charleston City Paper

We’ve been covering Charleston since 1997 and plan to be here with the latest and Best of Charleston for many years to come. In a time where local journalism is struggling, the City Paper is investing in the future of Charleston as a place where diverse, engaging views can flourish. We can't do it without our readers. If you'd like to support local, independent journalism:

UP NEXT FROM

FEATURE

Survivalist Steve Mosher prepares for the end of the world as we know it

Susan Cohen

Steve Mosher didn’t just wake up one day with an overwhelming sense of doomsday paranoia. A self-made man with the words “self” and “made” tattooed to his knuckles and a mass of red facial hair worthy of his membership in the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society, he’s not the kind of guy dwelling over Mayan prophesies.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Charleston County residents also voting on sales tax, housing trust fund

Charleston County residents will decide whether to extend a local sales tax to fund school construction projects and to approve a property tax increase to fund an affordable housing trust. First, voters weigh in on the aptly named “Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax Act Referendum for Charleston County.” A vote “Yes” extends a […]

Before You Go: One more Graham-Harrison debate on tap Friday

South Carolina health officials reported 755 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, with 19 additional confirmed deaths.

SC reform groups raise questions about Charleston report on May protests

Two S.C. justice reform advocacy groups delivered a letter Oct. 22 to Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Police Chief Luther Reynolds and members of Charleston City Council objecting to the city’s assessment of police response to the May 30-31 protests. “This report is a masterclass in the use of hollow rhetoric and passing the buck” American […]

Pickin’ in the Park puts drive-in bluegrass show on Johns Island

Charleston County Parks will host Pickin’ in the Park, a drive-in bluegrass concert at Johns Island County Park Nov. 7.