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Prepare Now for Potential Storms Ahead
5/31/2018 9:37:50 AM
Hurricane Preparedness

June marks the start of hurricane season, a time of year when residents along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States hold their breath, hoping the next five months pass without mention of evacuations, storm surges, and high winds in their area.

Whether a hurricane threatens Southwest Louisiana in the coming months or not, it’s still best to be prepared. Read on for some ways to be prepared for this hurricanen season.

In the event of any type of severe weather, the first step to being ready is to have a disaster supply kit stocked and on-hand year-round.

DISASTER KIT

Your disaster supply kit should include:
  • Water (One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener for food.
  • Batteries 
  • Flash Lights
  • Non-perishable food

Your first aid supplies should include the following:
  • Latex or other sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings to stop bleeding.
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes 
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • A thermometer
  • Prescription medications you take every day (periodically rotate medicines to account for expiration dates)
  • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment and supplies
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Non-prescription drugs: aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, laxatives.

STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE BEFORE, DURING & AFTER A HURRICANE

Before a storm is headed your way:

It’s important to develop a plan for your family before talk of evacuation and other storm-related preparations begin. Follow these steps to prepare your family for the 2018 hurricane season:
  • Decide now where your family will go in the event of a mandatory evacuation order. Have a couple different options available, whether it’s a relative far out of town or a hotel.
  • Review your insurance coverage and speak with your agent to make sure you have the coverage you need. Also, check into your flood insurance eligibility since homeowner’s policies typically don’t cover flood damage.
  • Buy plywood or shutters for your windows at the beginning of hurricane season to avoid a last-minute scramble. You can pre-cut the plywood and store it off the ground in a shed, crawl space or attic until needed. 
  • Have a plan for your recreational items. If you have a boat or other large equipment, decide where you will store them during a tropical storm or hurricane.
  • Test emergency equipment such as generators and flashlights now.
  • Check your kit. If you have a disaster kit from last year, check it to make sure it is fully stocked and nothing is expired.
Prepare your home:

Whether you shelter in place or evacuate, your home will need some simple preparation to help protect it from hurricanes and their aftermath. Government and relief agencies all recommend the following: 
  • Cover all of your home’s windows with your supply of plywood or permanent hurricane shutters.
  • Trimming trees and shrubs away from your house helps make them more wind resistant and lessens the likelihood of them damaging your house.  
  • Keep gutters and drain pipes unclogged and clear of debris.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture & anything else that is not tied down to prevent injury/damage from debris.

When you return home: 
  • Remember, your house may have serious damage. Only enter if safe to do so. 
  • Use a flashlight to check for damage around your home. Never use candles, matches or other open flame. 
  • Check to see that the electric, gas, and water services are not damaged. Have licensed professionals check gas, water, and electrical lines and appliances for damage. If you find or suspect damaged gas or power lines, call Entergy at 1-800-ENTERGY (368-3749) to report it. 
  • Boil your water. Remember to use tap water for drinking and cooking only when local officials say it is safe to do so. 
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS

Almost half of Americans expect to rely on their neighbors after a disaster. Do you know yours? Now would be a great time to introduce yourself to your neighbors and exchange phone numbers. 

When preparing for a storm:
  • Get to know your neighbors before a storm or an emergency to help out in your community.
  • Check in with neighbors to see how you can help each other out before and after a storm.
  • Create a neighborhood Facebook group. If your neighborhood does not have a Facebook group, consider creating one. Not only does having a group create community on a day-to-day basis, it can prove helpful for gathering information before, during and after a storm.
  • Share supplies. If you run to the store to grab a couple of last-minute items before a storm, check to see if your neighbor needs anything.
  • Share tips with your community for staying safe before, during, & after a hurricane.
For more tips on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit www.ready.gov.


Are you Financially Prepared for a Hurricane?

You’ve prepared your home, assembled your emergency kit, and made a plan in case of evacuation. But are you financially prepared for a hurricane? To truly be ready for a natural disaster, you need to also be financially prepared. 

If a hurricane strikes, your workplace, as well as your paycheck, may be disrupted temporarily or possibly long term. Have an emergency savings account to be prepared for the unexpected.

Anticipate initial out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas, and other incidentals in case of evacuation.
Have copies or take photos of all your important financial documents, including bank account numbers and insurance information, and take with you if you need to evacuate.

Ensure you home-owners insurance, including flood, high winds, and hurricane damage insurance, is up-to-date. It takes 30 days for hurricane insurance to take effect after applying, so don’t wait until the hurricane is on the radar!
Businesses can purchase business-interruption insurance policies.

For a complete list of how to financially prepare for a disaster, go to www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.


Help your Children Cope & Prepare for an Approaching Hurricane

When the computer models show a hurricane headed your direction, it’s natural to feel a sense of concern, at the very least. If you feel a degree of fear, your children likely do, also. Follow these tips from www.ready.gov to help ease their anxiety.

You are their biggest influence. When you can manage your own feelings, you can make disasters less traumatic for your kids.

Encourage dialogue. Listen to your kids. Ask them about their feelings. Validate their concerns.

Answer questions. Give just the amount of information you feel your child needs. Clarify misunderstandings about risk and danger.

Be calm and reassuring. Discuss concrete plans for safety. Have children and teens contribute to the family’s recovery plan. Role play what each member of the family will do in an emergency situation. Hold a fire drill and ensure everyone knows the exit routes. Choose a spot outside where everyone will meet. What will you do in case of flooding? Determine the best spot in the house to hunker down in case of a tornado; i.e., small inside rooms or bathtubs covered with a mattress.

Involve your children in the preparations. Let them help organize the emergency kit and pack clothes and other items they may want to take if evacuating. They can bring in loose items from the yard, such as furniture cushions, flower pots, and outdoor toys to prevent flying debris. Including your children in the readiness activities gives them a sense of purpose and empowerment and lessens fear.

Mind the TV. While it’s important to stay informed, news coverage of disasters can create confusion and anxiety in children. Repeated images may lead younger kids to believe the event is recurring. If your children do watch TV or use the Internet, be with them to talk and answer questions.

Find support. Whether you turn to friends, family, community organizations, or faith-based institutions, building support networks can help you cope, which will in turn help your children cope.
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