Is Louisiana Prepared for Another Hurricane?
16 Hurricane Preparation Tips for LA Residents
As we move towards the end of August, it is a time to remember the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On August 23, 2005 this unwelcome disaster crossed the state of Florida and moved up the Gulf Coast to hit our beautiful state, resulting in $81 billion in damage and over 1,800 lives lost. Many of the people were ill-equipped to deal with such a fierce storm and lost everything. Others just happened to live in the wrong place or not have any means of evacuation. There was no plan, which was a lesson learned for everyone in Louisiana and in other southern states. Even last year, the residents of Louisiana took a giant breath of relief as Hurricane Isaac blew off at the last minute. Again, this was in August. It seems as though we are at the bulls-eye of Hurricane Alley. This year and every year, we should know what to do to get ready for this type of disaster. Mother Nature works on her own whim, so one can never know when she will strike! Here are some things you can do to get ready:
- Visit the National Hurricane Center Website to get dozens of tips and strategies to keep you and your family safe.
- Prepare your yard. If you own a home, keep trees and branches trimmed to avoid risk of injury or damage to your property. Especially any that are closest to your home, such as near rooftops, eaves, etc. It is best to do this regularly to make sure the trimmings are placed by the curb and picked up before a storm occurs. Also be mindful of garbage cans, toys and other potentially “flying” objects that could break windows or cause damage.
- Protect your car. If you have a garage, keep it cleaned out so that in case of a storm you can keep it inside and less vulnerable to flying debris.
- Home Exterior preparation. If a storm warning comes, make sure to buckle up the house with hurricane shutters or boards. Brace any openings. It’s wise to buy these supplies far ahead of time since wood; shutters and supplies are often the first things to run out at hardware storms upon any kind of storm warning. You might want to remove any screen doors or windows that allow air flow through.
- Check your property for safety hazards. People sometimes forget and leave propane tanks attached to the grill. It’s best to bring your BBQ grill and patio set indoors or to keep in a shed.
- Pool maintenance. Drain the pool by at least 12” to account for heavy rainfall. Remove one screen on each side of your pool enclosure to allow wind to flow through, which may cause less damage than losing the entire enclosure.
- Inside your house: Keep your refrigerator and freezer on the coldest setting. Buy a few coolers to have ready just in case. Stock up on water jugs, enough that each person would have a gallon for every day without power.
- Buy candles and lanterns. If you can afford a generator, you might also want to stock up on gas reserves and keep it somewhere safe (like in the garage). Gas stations have long lines when they do open after a hurricane so this could save you hours of time.
- Fill bathtub. Why? You can use this water for non-drinking use, such as bathing.
- Make a “safe room” and stock it up with supplies. Sleeping bags and pillows, batteries, snacks, water and activities for children.
- Keep a mattress handy to hide underneath in case your home has structural damage.
- Take important paperwork and personal belongings (like jewelry, etc.) to a fireproof safe, bank deposit box, or somewhere not within your home. If they do remain in your home, keep them in plastic baggies.
- Mobile home owners. Evacuate!
- High rise dwellers should also prepare by sealing up windows and removing anything on balconies. Wind is strongest at higher elevations.
- Never go outside during a storm. If your home starts to sustain damage, you could go in the bathroom and cover with a mattress. Don’t walk around the house, stay in your safe room.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. Once the storm warnings mention any kind of tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic, everyone rushes to buy up the necessities at all of the stores. Beat the rush and avoid the madness.
We hope another hurricane will not strike anytime soon, but if it does, stay safe by taking precautions in advance.
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