GT Flooding sept. 30 2018

Floodwaters on Front Street in Georgetown Sept. 30 in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

In the coastal lands of the Southeastern United States, summertime means hurricane preparation. Lessons learned from recent hurricane disasters have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to suggest new considerations in what might be called “classic preparation.”

Over the last couple of years, the EPA has responded to several damaging hurricanes including Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence which has yielded valuable lessons for coastal residents.

“We want to inform the public of how they can prepare for hurricane season and help protect their communities, the environment, and first responders by mitigating hazardous waste and securing potential harmful debris before storms strike," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Debris and household hazardous waste is something many of us are not thinking about when it comes to hurricane preparation. However, the EPA says this needs to become a regular part of our evacuation plans. The EPA stated that approximately 470,100 containers were recovered during 2017 and 2018 natural disaster responses. Those containers included drums, oil containers, propane tanks.

By being proactive and adding waste mitigation as a part of a hurricane plan, coastal residents can help protect their community and its first responders in the event of a hurricane. Items that would be considered, harmful, hazardous, or poisonous if released into the environment should be secured. Solvents, paint cans, fuels and cleaning supplies are examples of items to consider.