Hurricane Season started this week and lasts until November 30th, with the peak of the season being between mid-August to mid-September. It’s supposed to be an inactive year, or so they tell us! However, it only takes one storm to cause chaos! Here are ten tips to help you weather your first hurricane season in Southern Louisiana.
1. Plan: Everyone is saying it and we can’t stress it enough. Create a plan! Then create a backup plan just in case. Things to think about when creating your plan include:
- Where will we go?
- What will we bring?
- Where will we stay?
- What happens if we have to stay away longer than a few days?
- Do we have proper insurance?
- What about the pets?
2. Hurricane Kit: If you decide to shelter in place during a storm you are going to need some supplies. Start now so the cost isn’t overwhelming if a storm comes. Pack a plastic tub or trunk with items such as:
- canned /non-perishable food
- manual can opener
- paper goods
- first aid kit
- OTC meds
3. Last Minute preparations: If you are sheltering in place, you are also going to need some last-minute supplies such as food and water.
The stores are going to be PACKED! Shop off the beaten path. Places like Whole Foods seem to be less crowded, for some reason during Tropical Storm Isaac so was Target. Sam’s and Costco carry supplies in bulk and tend to carry more stock than most stores and they are slightly cheaper. The Ice House on Williams is a great place for ice in bulk, they also sell dry ice which will help keep your freezer food colder longer in case the electric goes out. Office Dept also carries water, batteries and other supplies.
Board up your windows using plywood, not duck tape. Duck tape will not prevent your windows from being broken by projectiles. Pick up anything in your yard that could become a projectile in the wind and clean out the storm drains in front of your house.
Fill your bathtub with water to use for flushing the toilet. Fill everything you can with water just in case you need it. Remember the CDC recommends one gallon of water per person per day with a three-day minimum supply.
Put the food in your freezer in garbage bags. If the power goes out and things go bad, this will make clean up a lot easier.
Fill up your propane tanks, get a generator, get gas for the generator and fill up your car. Take cash out of the bank, often after a storm stores are unable to accept anything but cash. Charge all cell phones and invest in some type of portable charger that doesn’t require electricity.
One more thing, take pictures or videos of your valuables just in case you need them for insurance reasons.
4. Important Papers: Do you know where your insurance papers are? Your social security card? Passports? Birth certificates? If not FIND THEM! Put them all in one file box or waterproof safe that will be easy to transport in case you have to leave.
5. Pictures: Take your pictures off the wall and put them in a plastic tub so they can be packed into the car or stored up high. Pack photo albums and loose prints in the same tub. Back up all the pictures on your computer and cell phone to a cloud based service so you can access them from anywhere in case you lose either of these during the storm.
6. Books, DVDs and Video Games: Books are hard to transport, so we suggest only taking the ones you cherish with you. Pack them in a small rolling suitcase so they are easier to carry. The rest you can let them take their chances on the book shelf or pack them in plastic containers and place them up high. DVDs and video games can be taken out of their cases and put in a CD binder, this makes them easier to take with you if you have to leave.
7. LEAVE: If local officials tell you to leave then do so! Unless you have an essential job that requires you to stay, don’t. Your life isn’t worth the risk. If you can leave before the official evacuation is called, also try to leave in the middle of the night or in the early morning when there is less traffic on the road. Once contraflow starts, traffic is going to be a nightmare.
8. Don’t Rush Back: Plan to say a few extra days if you can once you are allowed back home. We know you want to get back but you’re most likely coming back to no electricity and limited resources, plus traffic.
9. Think About Your Mental Health: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. So take care of yourself mentally. Take a break from focusing on the storm.
10. Children: If you have children, remember they are scared and worried too. Help them by playing board games, card games, letting them use their devices to watch videos, play games etc. If you evacuate, try to go someplace where you can make a mini vacation out of the trip.
The key to weathering hurricane season is to be prepared and listen to local officials! Here’s to an inactive seasons!