CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The 2022 Hurricane season is officially underway and preparations are in place across the Lowcountry and statewide.

In Charleston County, emergency management leaders started preparing months ago and say they’re ready.

“We’ve been prepping for this for over six months now updating plans, having meetings with our sheltering staff, also with all of our different emergency support functions, and our different sections that we have in our emergency operation center,” said Joe Coates, the Director of the Charleston County Emergency Management Department.

Annual emergency preparedness drills bring together different municipalities and agencies to ensure everyone is ready if disaster strikes.

An earthquake drill was held today in Charleston County. Coates says the skills practiced in an earthquake drill can translate to almost any emergency.

“It’s still an all-hazards approach to what we’re planning for. So even by doing an earthquake drill this time around, we’re really preparing for all hazards,” he said.

The City of Charleston is also prepared for hurricane season. Emergency Management Director Shannon Scaff says preparations never really stop.

“It’s everything from making sure we’ve got all the sandbags that we need, making sure that our debris management contracts are in place and we have all of those resources ready to go for cleanup efforts, it’s about preparing via exercises, it’s of course coordination with Charleston County and Berkeley County,” said Scaff.

The city’s hurricane task force, including representatives from the police and fire departments, stormwater mitigation specialists, traffic and transportation experts, and more, begins meeting in March for planning purposes.

“We’ll really dial in on some of the details of making sure the city is prepared as can be before a hurricane arrives.”

Municipalities across the Lowcountry feel ready, and they say now is the time for you to prepare.

“You’re responsible for your home and your family,” said Scaff. “So you should really have a plan in place for where you’re going to go if the order is given and the what sorts of things you’re going to take with you.”

Coates says it can be a family activity to pack your hurricane-ready kit.

“Take them to the store and explain why you’re having to get all this or gather it around the house. But just making sure you’re prepared is the most important thing,” said Coates.

Another tip from Lowcountry emergency management leaders is to listen to the warnings and advice from state leaders.

Make sure you know your evacuation zone and bring important documents, medications, and cash with you.

Check out Storm Team 2’s Hurricane Ready Guide for all the details you need to prepare for hurricane season.