As South Carolina residents start to recover from Hurricane Matthew, they’ll have to navigate many questions before resuming life as normal.
Where can folks go for answers? This post-hurricane survival guide provides a starting point.
Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that evacuation orders had been lifted for all residents in Horry and Georgetown counties. Orders for Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties were lifted Sunday.
There are no effective evacuation orders remaining, officials said.
Residents are asked to follow directions given by county and local governments when returning home. Folks who are returning to the coast should prepare for longer travel times and traffic congestion.
People should avoid downed power lines, and should treat all power lines as if they’re live.
Goodwill is partnering with the American Red Cross to provide hurricane victims with clothing vouchers. The $35 vouchers will be able to be used to purchase clothing and shoes, according to a news release. People can call 800-768-8048 to begin the process of obtaining a voucher.
Homeowners who would like to request volunteers from Helping Hands to assist with debris clean up and mold mitigation can call 1-800-451-1954.
S.C. OSHA employees will be in areas affected by the hurricane to advise and provide free safety supplies. Anyone in need of advice or safety supplies can call 803-896-7665. Available supplies include hearing protection, safety glasses, gloves, dust masks and reflective vests.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is waiving testing fees for private wells. For more information, call 803-898-4312.
For information about boil water advisories, visit DHEC’s website at scdhec.gov. If water is not safe to drink it should be boiled vigorously for at least one minute and then allowed to cool before use.
POWER AND GENERATORS
For questions regarding power, residents should contact their local power providers. Numbers for some of the state’s largest electricity customers and some local electric cooperatives are here:
- SCE&G: 888-333-4465, online/text: https://www.sceg.com/outages-emergencies/power-outages/text-message-reporting
- Duke Power: English, 800-769-3766, Español, 866-427-2466; online: https://ols.duke-energy.com/037/ExtOutageReporting/ExtOutageReportingServlet
- Santee Cooper: 888-769-7688
- SC Electric Co-ops: Tri-County Electric Cooperative, 803-874-1215; Fairfield Electric Cooperative 800-499-7862; Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative, 803-749-6444; Newberry Electric Cooperative, 803-276-1121; Black River Electric Cooperative, Sumter 803-469-8060, Camden 803-432-9854.
To get along without power, folks should have the following items: battery powered radio, flashlight for everyone in the family, battery-operated lantern, first aid kit, disposable plates and utensils, non-electric can opener, blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, charged cell phone, list of emergency numbers.
Residents should not operate generators inside homes or garages, as that increases the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.
To avoid being scammed during hurricane recovery operations, people should ask to see relief workers’ IDs. Folks should also know that legitimate service providers will not ask for personal information such as social security numbers, the names of a people’s banks or any other identifying information.
QUESTIONS TO ASK INSURANCE COMPANIES
When contacting their insurance companies, homeowners should ask if their policies cover hurricane, wind, water and mold damage. Residents should also ask if their policies cover the actual cost to repair or rebuild after a hurricane, and whether or not policies will cover the cost of living elsewhere while a home is uninhabitable.
In addition, homeowners should ask who is responsible for coverage if a neighbor’s tree falls on the caller’s house or vice versa.
▪ Social Security number – and a spouse’s, if necessary
▪ Private insurance information, if available
▪ Address and ZIP code of the damaged property
▪ An address where you can get mail
▪ Directions to the damaged property
▪ Daytime telephone number, and one where FEMA can leave a message
▪ Direct deposit information – if you want disaster assistance funds sent directly to your bank
After you register, you will get a call from an inspector. The inspector, a private contractor who will wear an official FEMA badge, will visit the property at a scheduled time for an inspection that should take 10 to 20 minutes.
Contact local law enforcement if you have concerns with the legitimacy of a FEMA inspector. Inspectors will never charge for an inspection, though they will ask for identification and proof of occupancy.
To help those who lost vehicle titles or registrations in the hurricane, the S.C. DMV is operating limited mobile units in Charleston, Florence and Jasper counties. The locations are as follows:
- North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center at 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston
- 3102 East Palmetto Street, Florence
- 407 Live Oak Drive, Ridgeland
These offices can provide credentials and duplicate titles or registrations if customers lost their originals in the storm. They can complete other transactions on a limited basis. These offices will not offer road tests.
For those in need of emergency shelters, the S.C. Emergency Management Division lists emergency shelter status statewide at scemd.org. This is updated in real-time by the S.C. Department of Social Services. Coastal evacuees without internet access can call the public information phone system at 1-866-246-0133 with questions and needed assistance.
HOW TO HELP
The most effective way to donate is to the One SC Fund, state officials have said. The fund is used to support nonprofit organizations providing relief and recovery assistance to disaster victims. Donations can be made online or through the mail to the following address:
Central Carolina Community Foundation-One SC, 2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 213, Columbia, SC 29204
Checks should be made payable to Central Carolina Community Foundation-One SC, according to the fund’s website.
If people wish to donate food, the S.C. EMD recommends the four member organizations of the S.C. Food Bank Association. Those are:
Golden Harvest Food Bank, 706-736-1199, serving Abbeville, Allendale, Aiken, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Edgefield, Greenwood, McCormick, Oconee and Pickens counties.
Harvest Hope Food Bank, 803-254-4432 ext. 1118, serving Calhoun, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Kershaw, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda and Sumter counties.
Lowcountry Food Bank, 843-747-8146, serving Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, and Williamsburg counties.
Second Harvest Food Bank, 704-376-1785, serving Cherokee, Lancaster, Spartanburg, Union, and York counties.
Palmetto Goodwill is accepting donations of clothing and furniture at local Goodwill stores to help hurricane victims restock their homes.
For those interested in volunteering, officials have said the best starting places are local church and civic groups. Folks can also register at volunteersc.org where they will be matched with appropriate opportunities.