Though we can hope and pray that Louisiana will be spared this hurricane season, we must also be prepared for whatever comes our way.
I think it’s never too soon to start planning how you and your family will react to an approaching storm. You can get more detailed information from the National Hurricane Center.
The most important thing you can do for your family is to be informed and prepared. One of the most important decisions you may have to make is whether or not to evacuate. If you are asked to evacuate, you should do so without delay. But even if you are not told to evacuate, it’s important for you and your family to have a plan that makes you as safe as possible in your home.
To create your Family Disaster Plan:
- Discuss the types of hazards that could affect your family, including your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.
- Locate a safe room in your home, or a safe area in your community.
- Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet.
- Have an out-of-state friend or family member as a contact, so everyone has a single point of contact. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was very difficult to make calls to the hurricane ravaged areas.
- Make a plan for your pets, should you need to evacuate.
- Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit.
- Take First Aid, CPR, and disaster preparedness classes.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center offers the following checklist for your family’s Disaster Supply Kit:
- Water – at least one gallon per day for three to seven days.
- Food – at least enough for three to seven days.
- Non-perishable packaged or canned foods and juices.
- Foods for infants or the elderly.
- Snack foods.
- Non-electric can opener.
- Cooking tools and fuel.
- Paper plates and plastic utensils.
- Blankets, pillows, etc.
- Clothing – seasonal / rain gear / sturdy shoes.
- First Aid Kit – including any prescription drugs and over the counter medicines.
- Special items for infants and the elderly.
- Toiletries – such as moisture wipes and personal hygiene items.
- Flashlight and batteries.
- Radio – battery operated and NOAA weather radio.
- Cash – with small bills, as banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
- Toys, books, and games.
- Important documents – insurance information, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc. should be carried in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag.
- Tools – keep a set with you during the storm.
- Vehicle fuel tanks filled.
- Pet care items – proper identification, immunization records, medications, an ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, and a muzzle and leash.
To track an approaching storm, you can find maps and regularly updated tracking information online at the National Hurricane Center.
A hurricane watch issued for your area lets you know that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. When a hurricane watch is issued, you should implement your family’s disaster plan and initiate protective measures, such as securing a boat or evacuating your area.
Should a hurricane warning be issued in your area, it means that sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour are expected within the next 24 hours. At this point, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.
In case of a disaster in your area, following are the American Red Cross chapters around Louisiana if you need assistance or if you want to volunteer:
- Acadiana Area Chapter, Lafayette, 337-234-7371.
- Southwest Louisiana, Lake Charles, 337-478-5122.
- Central Louisiana, Alexandria, 318-442-6621.
- Louisiana Capital Area Chapter, Baton Rouge, 225-291-4533.
- Northwest Louisiana Chapter, Shreveport, 318-865-9545.
- Northeast Louisiana Chapter, Monroe, 318-323-5141.
- Southeast Louisiana Chapter, Covington, 985-892-4317.
In short, advance preparation is the key for staying safe during this upcoming hurricane season. I urge you to take hurricane watches and warnings seriously. Plan ahead for your family’s safety and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
(Washington, D.C.) - Later today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be questioning Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing regarding the potentially drastic increases to flood insurance premiums under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In June, Vitter secured a commitment from the Banking Committee leadership to bring Fugate in to testify. In addition to sitting on the committee, Vitter will also be a key witness.Read More
U.S. Sen. David Vitter compared implementation delays for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to flood insurance provisions in the Biggert-Waters Act during a U.S. Senate Small Business Committee hearing yesterday.Read More
Excerpts: “A top federal flood insurance official promised a group of South Louisiana parish presidents and U.S. Sen. David Vitter in early May that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would hold off on issuing new flood maps until it worked out all the flaws. But FEMA didn't keep its promise. On July 2, the agency released new preliminary flood maps for Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes."Read More
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to meet with Louisiana parish presidents about the flood mapping process. FEMA Associate Administrator David Miller recently accepted an invitation to visit Louisiana on August 8 and 9. In a letter to Miller today, Vitter said he would greatly benefit from meeting with parish presidents of the “Parishes Against Coastal Erosion (PACE)” coalition while in Louisiana.Read More
“After nearly two decades, this is a huge step to finally get Morganza moving forward, which will have major benefits for south Louisiana,” said U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. “Many Louisianans are under threat of flooding every hurricane season, and this project would give them much-needed relief.”
He is right, of course. Morganza is a key piece of protection that should add immeasurably to the security people feel even as they look at the sea so close to our doorsteps.Read More
Excerpts: “U.S. Sen. David Vitter sent a letter to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday urging him to rescind preliminary flood maps for the National Flood Insurance Program that were issued this month for Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes...Read More
(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator David Vitter today sent a letter to Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), urging him to rescind FEMA’s new preliminary flood maps issued for Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes.Read More