Chief Jeff Burr is the Fire Chief and Emergency Operations Director for the City of Hartsville.

When most of us think of June, we think of spending time in the sun, kids being out of school, and fun vacation plans. All of this is fun and exciting and the reason many of us love summer. This month also marks the beginning of hurricane season and our Emergency Operations Team wants you to take precautions now to help you prepare should a disaster approach Hartsville, SC.

One of the biggest tips that we have is to prepare your emergency kit now rather than waiting for the milk and bread frenzy the day before a major storm. This tip is often overlooked by many people because you think you have plenty of supplies already in your home. Don’t catch yourself in the local store searching for AA batteries for your flashlight along with 7,000 of your closest friends. A proper emergency kit should include: clean containers for water, first aid kit, prescriptions, baby supplies, 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food, flashlights and extra batteries, sleeping bags and extra blankets, personal hygiene supplies, and an emergency kit for your car. Each of these is very important during a storm and it is important not to look over any necessity.

Another major tip that we cannot emphasize enough is to get connected. Our team does a great job of communicating during a storm to concerned citizens. We would encourage you to register for Code Red Alerts through our website. This emergency alert system will call, text, or email a notification to you during a storm. Some of these notifications come directly from the National Weather Service about weather conditions and others come directly from City of Hartsville officials about relevant information for Hartsville residents including, but not limited to: curfews, road conditions, evacuations, and more. This is a service provided to you and we encourage you to take advantage of it. We also publish a great deal of information through our social media pages. Follow City of Hartsville, SC, Government on Facebook and Instagram for updates on sandbags, road closures, curfews, and other important advisories. Our emergency operations center is staffed 24/7 with someone that can communicate through these channels making receiving information easier for you.

There is only so much that residents may do ahead of time to prepare for a storm. Once you know that a storm is approaching, you can prepare by: filling up your car’s gas tank, watching the radio, tv, and social media for weather updates, getting sandbags to prepare for flooding, restocking your emergency kit in case that jar of peanut butter was used when you forgot to go to the grocery store, securing items in your yard that could be used as a projectile, putting pets away, and adjusting the thermostats on refrigerators to the coolest temperature.

Our team is also working to create a log of individuals with disabilities or special needs that may need additional assistance in the time of a disaster. By filling out this form, we are able to know individuals needs of residents and how we can best help them should that time come. This form went out in May’s water bills, but city residents can also fill this out online at:

Every household has their own individual way to prepare for a disaster, but the most important thing is that you begin thinking about what you will do in advance. Waiting until the last minute may leave you walking out of a store empty handed and wishing you would have listened to this advice in June rather than when you’re in the path of a storm. Just like you, we are preparing now for emergency situations so that we can better serve our residents!