With hurricane season quickly approaching, now is the time to get prepared.
Disturbances that seem to have little chance of developing into major hurricanes or hurricanes that appear to be headed away from you and your family can quickly form into major events and change directions without much notice. Once a storm is bearing down on you, it is already too late.
Preparations should be made long before there is even a blip on the radar in order to protect lives and property.
Luckily, there are numerous resources available to help you make sure you are prepared for a hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has an entire page dedicated to hurricane preparedness. There you can find out how to gather information, make a preparedness kit, develop a plan for evacuating, be ready for recovery after the storm, and other resources.
Louisiana, no stranger to devastating storms, also has state and local resources available through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). GOHSEP’s homepage is great for up-to-date information about any emergency that may occur in the state, but it’s GetAGamePlan.org website has the best resources for getting ready for a hurricane. With links to the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide as well as to key information sources before, during, and after emergency events, the site is the ultimate resource for Louisiana citizens when it comes to preparation.
Louisiana Sea Grant, in coordination with other Sea Grant around the country, has developed the Louisiana Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards. The handbook is available as a PDF or in hardcopy. Going beyond basic preparedness, the Sea Grant product also has information on steps that can be taken to mitigate potential threats to life and property, an explanation of the forces at work during storms such as wind shear, building upgrades that can be added to make your home more resilient, and appendices that include a preparation checklist and emergency phone numbers and websites. Best of all, the handbook is free to download and only $5 to order to cover shipping costs.
While hurricane season runs from June through November, it is never too early to make plans and preparations, especially since supplies will be flying off the shelves as the storm nears. Gather supplies in a single place so they can be easily grabbed if you need to evacuate quickly. Have a predetermined meeting place for your family if you have to evacuate separately. Make sure all the emergency contacts you may need are handy by either saving them in your phone or, ideally, having them with your preparedness kit. The key to preparing for a hurricane is to be ready before it hits.
Storms, not just hurricanes, can be unpredictable. The best way to be prepared for a hurricane is to respect the power of these events and take precautions well in advance. As climate change continues to affect weather patterns and causes sea levels to rise, the devastation of major storms will only increase, putting ever more people and homes in harm’s way.
Be smart. Be prepared.