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Stay prepared during hurricane season

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves
  • 20th Fighter Wing

According to the National Weather Service, the U.S. hurricane season began June 1 and ends November 30.

Preparations before a storm can prevent panic later down the line, said Staff Sgt. Janice Reynolds, 20th Fighter Wing occupational safety technician.

Individuals can maintain storm readiness by creating an emergency kit and making an initial and backup evacuation plan.

Reynolds said kits should include items such as batteries, flashlights, windup radios, medical supplies and approximately four days of water and nonperishable food items. She also recommends visiting hurricane preparation websites for detailed lists created by disaster relief experts.

Formal plans may include deciding to evacuate or take shelter in place, what evacuation routes to take, how to receive news and send updates to family, when and how to use supplies, and what to do if the first plan fails.

People can visit websites such as to start their planning.

This site provides information based on what relief organizations have seen and researched from previous storms, said Reynolds.

Team Shaw members can also receive up to date information via the Straight Talk Line at 803-895-8942, on local television stations or online.

“Monitor your local news channels,” said Staff Sgt. Zachary Clement, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management technician. “Other good resources are the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, National Weather Service, Shaw AFB Emergency Management Facebook and other official base notifications.”

From the time storms begin to approach until after they pass, the 20th Fighter Wing releases information online via and social media. These updates usually include reporting procedures for military members, gate hours, facility closures, directions on what to do and where to go, and Hurricane Conditions.

“The base operates off of a HURCON (timeline) which consists of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1C, 1E, and 1R, not to be confused with hurricane categories,” said Clement.

Each level indicates when severe weather can be expected. The levels are as follows:
− HURCON 5: destructive winds are possible within 96 hours
− HURCON 4: destructive winds are possible within 72 hours
− HURCON 3: destructive winds are possible within 48 hours
− HURCON 2: destructive winds are possible within 24
− HURCON 1: destructive winds are possible within 12 hours
− HURCON 1C: winds between 40 and 57 mph sustained are occurring
− HURCON 1E: surface winds of 58 mph sustained or higher are occurring
− HURCON 1R: storm hazards have passed, but damage may persist and recovery begins

For individuals who know where to go for information, have a plan and keep a kit ready, Reynolds had one additional piece of advice to remember.

“Don’t panic,” she said. “If you have everything, if you’re prepared and you’ve got what you need, just don’t panic. Listen, be aware, be calm … and stay in contact as much as possible.”