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What’s your 2023 hurricane preparedness plan?
Hurricane season is upon us. Are you prepared? Don’t panic. Whether you’re leaving town, hunkering down or trying to decide which option to choose, Verite’s hurricane guide will help you get through this storm season.
The information in our hurricane guide comes from various resources including the official Louisiana Hurricane Survival Guide produced by the NOAA National Weather Service and Louisiana’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
This guide will provide you with the information you need to create a hurricane kit, important phone numbers and emergency shelter details. Our team will add to this resource guide throughout the hurricane season. Our goal is to give you the tools to help you and your family stay safe during a storm.
How to be prepared and not stressed …
Before the storm
What you should do now
Make a plan. Monitor the weather for storm reports and updates. In the event of a hurricane, will you hunker down or evacuate?
There are several things to consider. Do you have transportation or will you be able to secure transportation? What is your home’s flood risk? Officials recommend that mobile home residents evacuate for any hurricane, and those outside of the federal levee system are often advised or ordered to evacuate even for relatively small storms.
What are the health risks of staying — possibly without power for days or weeks? Do you have elderly or medically vulnerable people in your household?
If you plan to evacuate, know your route. Keep a map handy to identify alternate routes in case of blocked roads. Identify places where you can stay within a reasonable distance from your home.
Whatever your plan, prepare for the worst. You may not have time to evacuate, and you will want to certain items on-hand to ride out the storm and the immediate aftermath. The city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana have suggestions for what to include in an emergency kit. But at the minimum, you should have:
- Non-perishable food, enough for at least three days
- Bottled water, 3 gallons per person
- Manual can opener
- Battery-powered radio
- Matches or a lighter
- Two-week supply of necessary medications
- First-aid kit
It’s also important to store valuable papers in a secure location or take them with you. Here are some important papers to have on hand or put in a safe place when a Hurricane hits:
- Social Security cards
- Birth certificates
- Marriage and death records
- Insurance policies
- Deeds and mortgages
- Stocks and bonds
- Small valuables
- Inventory of household goods
- Computer file backups
- Savings and checking books
When a storm is approaching
- Clean debris from catch basins
- Secure or store lawn furniture, and other loose, lightweight items such as garbage cans, garden tools, etc.
- Cover all windows and door openings with shutters or plywood.
- Check batteries
- Stock up on canned foods, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications
- Dispose of perishable foods, including those in the refrigerator
- Get cash
- If evacuating, leave early, preferably during daylight hours
- Make sure your car is working properly and has a full tank of gas
- Frequently monitor radio, TV, NOAA All Hazards Radio or the internet for official bulletins of the storm’s progress and any evacuation orders.
If you evacuate
For those without reliable transportation, your local government may offer publicly assisted evacuations. Residents of New Orleans can text EVACNOLA to 77295. The city will text information about assisted evacuation in the event a mandatory evacuation order is listed.
If you are leaving by car:
- Make sure your gas tank is full
- Pack clothes, medications, soap, shampoo and toilet paper
- Bring important documents: ID, passport, insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates and family photos
- Bring cash
- Let friends and family know your plans
- Lock up your home
- Lock up all firearms
- Turn off all utilities
- Notify someone outside the evacuation area of your plans
- If contraflow is implemented, know your contraflow route. Plan for alternate routes in case roads are blocked.
- Leave early during daylight hours
- Stay at a safe inland location with family, friends, or at a low-rise motel or designated shelter
- Follow the instructions of local officials and leave immediately if told to evacuate
- Ensure pets are secured and safe.
Just like your human family, you also have to have an evacuation plan for your pet. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe:
- Call the Louisiana State Animal Response team and inquire about sheltering opportunities.
- Make sure your evacuation destination — hotels, a friend or family member’s home, etc. — accepts pets. Here are some resources: petswelcome.com, www.travelpets.com, www.dogfriendly.com, or www.pettravel.com.
- Create a disaster readiness kit that includes food, water, first-aid supplies, and feeding supplies for at least one week.
- Your pet should be up to date on vaccinations.
Emergency Shelter Information:
Digital signs operated by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, located along evacuation routes, will provide information on open emergency shelters. You can also visit the American Red Cross’ website for shelter information or call 2-1-1.
If you decide to stay in place during a Hurricane or are unable to leave, there are some things you can do proactively. Below are some tips to help keep you safe during the storm.
- Fill the bathtub and large containers with water before the storm hits.
- Have battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a non-electric can-opener and canned goods.
- Call 2-1-1 *(see below).
- Know Emergency Information Shelter Points ** (see below).
- Turn the refrigerator to the maximum setting.
- Freeze water to create ice and store ice in large bags.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Do not run gas-powered generators in enclosed areas. Do not connect generators to your main home power supply. Call a qualified electrician to properly install the generator.
- Secure all doors and windows.
- Stay away from windows during the storm.
- Stay on the lowest floor, preferably in an interior bathroom or closet.
- If water rises, move to a second floor.
- If high winds threaten the structure of your house, lie on the floor, under a table or other sturdy object for protection.
2-1-1 is the largest comprehensive information and referral system in Louisiana. It serves all 64 parishes, connecting callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community during crisis situations. 2-1-1 is staffed 24 hours a day with trained specialists who have access to a computerized database of more than 15,000 resources and services. The specialists also provide multilingual services and also services for hearing-impaired persons. Below are services that 2-1-1 can direct you to:
- Coordinated disaster information
- Food and clothing
- Special needs housing
- Evacuation routes
- Transportation assistance
- Crisis counseling
- Prescription assistance
- Missing persons
- Post disaster child care
- Rebuilding assistance
After the storm
After the storm passes, then comes the time for assessment and rebuilding. Here are some things to consider after the storm:
- Continue to monitor the weather through radio and television.
- Do not leave your house until authorities have given the all-clear or you are sure the storm has passed.
- Do not drink or prepare food with tap water. It may be contaminated.
- Boil water for food preparation and for use for drinking
- Stay away from high water.
- Avoid using candles and open flames indoors. Use a flashlight.
- Do not drive in areas where roads are closed.
- Do not drive around barricades.
- Check your gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
- Assume downed power lines are charged.
- Wait until an area is declared safe before entering it.
- Be cautious using chainsaws and other power tools to remove debris.
- Avoid crossing weakened bridges and washed out roads.
- Do not drive into flooded areas.
- Register for the American Red Cross Safe and Well website: redcross.org/safeandwell or call 1-800-733-2767
During Hurricane season, many organizations will be sharing information, providing supplies and hosting Hurricane preparedness workshops. Below is a list of organizations that have Hurricane resources. This list will be updated frequently.
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
The Louisiana emergency preparedness guide is a comprehensive resource that includes a supply checklist, emergency evacuation map, contraflow maps, emergency shelter information and what to do after the storm. It also provides an opportunity to prepare a checklist of your own.
NOLA Ready is hosting a storm awareness and preparation event in partnership with Ponchartrain Conservancy Aug. 19, 2023 from 8am-2pm. It is a free event for families. The groups will provide hurricane supplies as well as information on coastal restoration education material.
Housing Authority of New Orleans website features resources and helpful links for residents. Some of these resources include guides on flood cleanup and the air in your home to downloadable contraflow evacuation maps.