As a resident of Louisiana I know firsthand how destructive a hurricane can be when it strikes. When Hurricane Katrina hit thousands of people were left without a home and were separated from their families. Important papers were lost, food and water were scarce and children were going hungry. I was one of the lucky ones in Louisiana. Nevertheless, I wanted to learn from other’s misfortunes and be prepared if another storm comes my way. A hurricane readiness plan is something I needed to develop. While researching what goes into this type of plan I realized that other coastal residents might find my discoveries helpful. Maybe you and your families will be a little more confident and ready if a major storm system threatens your city.
When a hurricane threatens your state the first thing you must decide is whether or not you should stay put or evacuate. With that decision in mind, then you can start to build your hurricane readiness plan.
Deciding to Ride the Storm Out at Home
If you decide to stay, there are some things you should do before the storm hits. You should make sure that insurance policies are current and that your property and belongings are covered by your policy. A copy of automotive and home insurance policies should be made and added to your survival kit. Other items that should be included in the family survival kit include: ice, nonperishable food items, bottled water, a month’s supply of prescription medicine, can opener, gas operated generator, batteries, battery-operated radio, paper products, flashlights, a first aid kit, tools, toys, bug repellant, infant necessities, coolers, a water purification kit, cash and other important papers. Everyone will have different needs so think about what you would need to survive when creating your survival kit. The family should also have emergency telephone numbers posted in case a situation calls for help. Children should be taught how to contact the police as well. Take a look at your house and figure out where the safest areas are located. Families should designate a meeting place in the event that they are separated, something that happened to many when Katrina hit the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi. An emergency contact should also be designated in case something happens.
Deciding to Evacuate
Some people will make the decision to leave the area when a storm is approaching and sometimes it is a necessary one. If this decision is made there are some things that you can do to make the evacuation less chaotic. Deciding where to go is the first step. When you are making this choice think about the track of the storm and which regions will be the safest. If you will be staying in a hotel, call ahead to reserve the room so that your spot is guaranteed. You can always call back to cancel if for some reason plans change. You should also have a survival kit like the one described for residents who decide on riding the storm out (the gas operated generator is not needed when evacuating, however you may want it when returning home). A map is something you should include in your kit when evacuating in case traveling becomes an issue. Before you leave your home, take some time to shut off the electrical, gas and water valves. Review insurance policies to make sure they are up to date and bring them with you along with other important papers. Create a checklist of things you need to secure in and around the house before you leave. It is also a good idea to make up a list of items you need to bring with you, such as clothes and other personal affects. Pictures and photo albums aren’t replaceable, so many will want to take those along as well. Just as with those who stay home for the storm, families should designate a meeting place and an emergency contact.
These are just a few things you can do in the event that a hurricane is headed your way. Figure out what you need to do and develop your own plan. Maybe you will never have to put this plan into action, but it is better to be safe and healthy than sorry. Don’t be a victim or an easy target. Being prepared can save lives! The next step is yours to take.