Bluffton is inviting residents to participate in the town’s #ReadyBluffton Preparathon next week to help get ready for hurricane season.
The town said the week-long initiative will begin May 9 with the first of five daily “preparation themes” that will include “specific actions to take to prepare your family for any type of emergency.” Officials will promote each day’s theme on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor.
Preparathon week will end with an in-person expo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 14 at Oyster Factory Park. Exhibitors will include the Bluffton Police Department, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Beaufort County EMS, Beaufort Amateur Group, South Carolina Emergency Management, Bluffton Township Fire District, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management, S.C. Department of Mental Health, S.C. Department of Insurance, Fetch-A-Vet, and CPM Federal Credit Union.
The town said any “business, church, civic group or community organization” that “has a product, service or information to distribute to the public to contribute to community preparation and would like to be considered as a participant” in the expo should contact emergency manager Stephen Combs at [email protected] or 843-706-7838.
Combs, who was hired in January, “is responsible for preparing the Bluffton community and town government to prevent, prepare for, respond to, mitigate against, and recover from any critical incident such as a hurricane, fire, mass causality incident or other severe weather event in a manner to save lives, conserve property and stabilize any critical incident,” the town said.
The town said Combs previously was an emergency management specialist and public information officer with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. He also is an adjunct instructor with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, teaching public information for all-hazard incidents.
Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November. The town noted that “historically the most active months for the Lowcountry have been August, September, and October.”
“The best antidotes for the unpredictability of hurricane season are preparation and a plan,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “As a Town, we are every resident’s partner in preparation, for our goal is to mitigate personal and property damage in every storm. This Preparathon and (expo) are great opportunities, especially for new residents who are new to hurricanes, to be informed and have the tools ready for anything Mother Nature brings.”
The #ReadyBluffton Preparathon schedule includes:
• May 9, Build Your Kit: Your emergency kit needs to include three days of food and water, flashlight/extra batteries, first aid kit and essential supplies such as prescriptions and medical equipment.
• May 10, Sign up for Alerts Day: Sign up for local emergency alerts with your town. Text your zip code to 888777 to sign up for local alerts; visit https://local.nixle.com/register/ to register. Be sure to select the option box for the town of Bluffton.
• May 11, Develop a Family Emergency Plan: Develop a plan so each member of your family-of-origin or family-of-choose knows how to reach each other, if separated.
• May 12, Prepare Your Pets Day: Microchip your pet and make an emergency plan for pet care. Many pets are abandoned during weather emergencies; pre-planning will help reduce or eliminate these heartbreaking situations.
• May 13, Financial Preparedness Day: Check insurance coverage, open a disaster savings account and purchase fire/water-proof containers for important documents. Compile them together so they are ready for transport if you must leave your house without ample warning.
• May 14, #ReadyBluffton Preparathon Expo: Public safety vehicles, such as police cars and fire trucks, will be on display; boat safety inspections and numerous informational packets will be available.