How prepared are you for extreme weather or emergency?


By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

With the return of summer in the midlands, long day and warm nights make for great fun. It also means ideal conditions for hurricanes to form. How prepared are you and your family should a hurricane strike?

“We live in an area that can be effected by hurricanes,” said Raymond “Ray” Domenech, Fort Jackson installation emergency manager. “An emergency can happen at any time.”

Domenech recommends all who work, live or visit Fort Jackson to prepare for extreme weather or an emergency by creating preparedness kits for home and car use. He also recommends all family members know how to use the items found in those kits as well.

“Most preparedness kits would contain items specifically used during and after a
hurricane,” Domenech said. “But recently we have been experiencing earthquakes. While small, they have the potential to become larger.”

On June 29, Fort Jackson personnel and family members felt the residual tremors of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake that struck near Elgin. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division said South Carolina experiences earthquakes 10 to 15 times a year. The division attributes the quake felt on post to a swarm of quakes that began in December 2021.

“An earthquake swarm is a sequence of seismic events occurring in a local area within a relatively short period of time,” a recent article published by the division online read. “This swarm began December 27, 2021, with a magnitude 3.3 earthquake centered near Elgin, South Carolina. Since then, 47 low-magnitude earthquakes have occurred in the Elgin-Lugoff area.”

The article also reported that seismologists believe these low-magnitude wakes are not indicators of larger earthquakes to come.

While large storms and quakes can damage buildings and leave home without power or internet, small storms are capable of temporarily flooding roads and damaging traffic lights and vehicles.

This is where Domenech recommends carrying another preparedness kit he calls a ‘get home bag” in your vehicle.

“Everyone should have a ‘get home bag’ in their vehicles,” he said. “The purpose of this bag is to provide us with the means to get home immediately after an emergency, not all get home bags are built the same way.”

He explained that office workers should consider packing a comfortable change of clothing, athletic shoes and non-perishable snacks like power bars if someone finds themselves walking home due to road closures. Rain gear, water, phone charger, first aid kit, flashlight or headlamps, utility knife or multi-tool, maps, small tool kit, jumper cables, and tow straps are other items Domenech recommends for a “get home bag.”

For home use kits Domenech say to “organizes and stores emergency supplies that can facilitate survival.” Each kit should contain basic items such as food, radios, flashlights, and batteries. Families should customize their home kits to contain items they need individually for a few days to ensure their survival until they are able to escape the area or are rescued by emergency personnel.

Customized kits can contain items such as additional daily medications, important records for family members and pets, and two-way radios for example.

Staying aware of upcoming weather can also be a powerful tool in preparing for extreme weather and emergencies.

“Be aware of the weather forecast, severe weather, other than tornados, can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy,” he said. “Knowing what severe weather threats we will be facing gives us an opportunity to make decisions such as preparing our homes, staying home, going to a shelter.”

For more information on severe weather and emergency preparedness, visit The website contains resources for emergency preparedness, check lists and resource lists.