The Daily Gamecock

Column: Here's how to stay safe during Hurricane Ian

Stay inside and away from windows and roads as Hurricane Ian approaches and is expected to pass over Columbia as a tropical storm on Friday. 

The hurricane is making history as one of the strongest storms to hit Florida and is expected to hit the coast of South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. 

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the area, and the Midlands are expected to see heavy rainfall and winds. Flash flooding will likely be the greatest threat to Columbia. 

One of the most highly recommended tips for hurricane safety is to stay away from windows and glass during the storm. The American Red Cross suggests the best protection is a small, windowless room on the lowest level unlikely to flood. 

For students residing in off-campus apartments, researching building evacuation routes is smart in the case of having to leave. Additionally, requesting preventative maintenance can ensure the least amount of apartment damage.

A "Go-Kit" and a "Stay-At-Home Kit" are highly suggested by the Red Cross in the case of a power outage or inability to access clean water. Examples of things to pack in these bags include chargers, water bottles, food, medicine and backup batteries.

It is imperative to stay indoors during this time of unpredictable weather circumstances. 

Marquis Solomon, Deputy Fire Chief for the City of West Columbia, advises USC students to err on the side of caution in regard to the strength of the storm. Having non-perishables, staying away from windows and remaining indoors were three of his biggest tips. 

"Typically you have a lot of flooding down near Whaley Street," Solomon said. "If you're in a vehicle and you see that there's water running across the roadway, just turn around, don't try to drive through it. Because what you can't see is the depth or speed in which it's moving ... it could sweep your way. Also, if you're walking, use the same type of safety measures."

The high-speed winds and flood risk also pose a threat to outdoor furniture. Students living off-campus must take this into consideration as the storm approaches and take their furniture inside. 

Not only is it vital to take safety measures before the storm, but post-hurricane safety is just as important. 

Avoid returning to routine until it is directed safely to do so. Steer clear of fallen power lines or poles in case of electrocution. Throw away perishable foods that could have gone bad in the case of power outages. 

Lastly, it is important to keep one's mental health into consideration. Roughing a storm can leave students feeling overwhelmed, helpless and/or scared. If you are battling these feelings, taking advantage of USC's mental health resources can prove to be beneficial. 

Be sure to reach out to your community and stay in contact with friends and family. We are equipped to bear the storm if we stay properly prepared with the right supplies and resources before Hurricane Ian approaches Friday.


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