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Hurricane Preparedness and Evacuation Tips

It’s that time of year when hurricane season will soon be upon us. From the beginning of the hurricane season on June 1st to November 30th, it’s important for us all to be aware of the dangers of a possible hurricane. The best way to ease tensions is to be prepared and have a plan in place in the event of a possible hurricane threat and evacuation. These helpful tips, from the National Hurricane Center, will aid you in being as ready as possible in case of a threat.

Gather Information

Know if you live in a flood zone and if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecasts, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings. Contact your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office to find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond.

Prepare a List of Important Contacts

A personal list of important contacts should include:
Emergency management offices
Local law enforcement
Local public safety fire/rescue
State, parish and city town government
Local hospitals
Local utilities
Local American Red Cross
Local TV stations
Local radio stations
Your property insurance agent

Risk Analysis

Check your hazards risks with the FEMA Map Portal
Rate your flood risk with the FloodSmart.gov portal
Plan and Take Action
Be prepared for the unexpected. What will you do if there is no power, water or gas? If you are separated from your family, how will you contact them?

Supplies Kit

Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same. The kit should include: water, food, a battery powered radio or weather radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, a whistle to signal for help, a dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape to patch broken windows, moist towelettes, garbage bags, zip ties, a wrench or pliers, a manual can opener, local maps, and cell phone chargers.

Put together a personal emergencies kit. This kit should include: prescription medications, glasses and contact lens solution, infant formula, diapers and other baby needs, pet food and extra water, cash or traveler’s checks, important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container, a sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, change of clothing and sturdy shoes, household bleach, fire extinguisher, matches, feminine supplies and other personal hygiene items, paper cups, plates, towels and plastic utensils, paper and pencils, and books, games and puzzles for children.

Emergency Plans

Have a family emergency plan in place
Plan for locations away from home
Pet owners should have a plan for their pets
Prepare your boat, if you’re near the water

Evacuation

Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines to allow for enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home. Follow instructions issued by local officials and leave immediately if ordered.
Consider your protection options to decide whether to stay or evacuate your home if you are not ordered to evacuate.

When waiting out a storm, be on the alert for:
Tornadoes, which are often spawned by hurricanes
The eye of the storm- it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.

Recover

Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home.
Remember that recovering from a disaster is a gradual process.

About the author

Marielle Songy

Marielle Songy was born and raised on the Westbank and currently resides in Gretna. She is a graduate of Archbishop Blenk High School and UNO. A true Louisiana girl, Marielle enjoys creole food, jazz music and the occasional swamp tour.

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