Before, during and after the storm….
Hurricane. The mere mention of the word causes concern for south Louisianans inland and those along the coastal region of the state. And, it is with good reason, too. A hurricane is an enormously powerful force of nature, with winds as high as 160 miles per hour, which can wreak havoc on anything that may chance upon its path.
Even today, one needs only mention ‘Audrey’ or ‘Hilda’ or ‘Katrina’ or ‘Isaac’ in association with hurricanes, and south Louisianan’s are immediately taken back to the horror and destruction of those deadly storms.
The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30.
Sheriff Mike Tregre said, "In spite of the fact that hurricane forecasters are predicting a calmer season for 2016, it is crucial that we do not let our guard down when it comes to hurricane safety. Good, sound emergency preparedness is perhaps the single most important defense against these potential killers. Preparation means learning the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead to help reduce the chances of injury and major property damage."
High winds, torrential rains and storm surges are part of the hurricane package, and attempting to combat these forces at the last minute can be deadly.
Sheriff Tregre advises St. John Parish residents to familiarize themselves with, and incorporate, this basic safety information as part of their hurricane emergency preparedness plan.
BEFORE A HURRICANE
- Plan an evacuation route. Contact the Sheriff’s Office for information.
Have disaster supplies on hand (flashlights and extra batteries; first aid kit
and manual; battery operated radio and extra batteries; emergency food
and water; non electric can opener; essential medicines; cash; credit
cards and sturdy shoes).
- Make arrangements for pets.
- Ensure that family members know how to respond after a hurricane.
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police or fire department.
- Protect windows.
- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
- Check into flood insurance.
Develop an emergency communication plan so that family members can
reunite if separated
Know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency,
- a HURRICANE WATCH is issued when there is a threat of conditions within 24-36 hours.
- a HURRICANE WARNING is issued when hurricane conditions (winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas) are expected in 24 hours or less.
DURING A HURRICANE WATCH
- Listen to a battery operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
- Check emergency supplies.
- Fuel car.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture and anchor down larger or heavier items.
- Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when necessary.
- Store drinking water in bottles, jugs, and in a clean bathtub.
- Review evacuation plan.
- Moor boats securely or move it to a safe place. Use tie downs or anchor to the ground.
DURING A HURRICANE WARNING
- Listen constantly to a battery operated radio or television for official instructions.
- If in a mobile home, check tie downs and evacuate immediately.
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
- Avoid elevators.
If at home:
- Stay inside. Keep away from windows or glass doors.
- Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy. Avoid open flames such as candles.
- If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.
If you must evacuate:
- Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded road and bridges.
- Unplug appliances and turn off electricity and the main water valve.
- Tell someone out of the storm area where you are going.
- Elevate furniture to protect it from flooding, if time permits.
- Bring pre assembled emergency supplies and warm protective clothing.
- Take blankets and sleeping bags to shelter.
- Lock up home and leave.
Electrocution, clean up accidents, fires and other recovery-related accidents can become part of the aftermath of a hurricane and cause deaths. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because the wind and rain have subsided. Be on guard.
AFTER A HURRICANE
Remain where you are until you receive official word from authorities that the storm has ended and it is safe to leave. Remember, it is probable you will be
without power, water, and other services. Monitor local radio and TV broadcasts for information regarding emergency medical aid, food, and other types of assistance.
- Avoid driving, as roads may be impassable. Also, emergency vehicles and relief workers will be able to respond more efficiently without additional traffic congestion
- Stay clear of downed power lines.
- Look out for snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by storm surge and flooding.
- Beware of weakened tree limbs.
- Secure your pets to keep them safe.
- Clear your street, making a path for emergency vehicles. Get neighbors to pitch in.
- Avoid the use of candles, matches, and other open flames in your home.
- Open windows and doors for ventilation.
Use your telephone only for emergencies.
Sheriff Tregre concluded, "It’s a fact. Hurricane disasters have occurred in the past and will again in the future. Our best defense against injuries and property damage is to take precautions well in advance of the threat of a hurricane. Don’t delay. It’s never too early to devise an emergency preparedness plan.
Vigilance is the key to securing the safety of your family and your property."
Call the Sheriff’s Office at (985) 652-9513 to learn more about hurricane emergency management or click on a related links below.
- Emergency Louisiana
- WWL – TV Channel 4 PinPoint Doppler Radar
- National Weather Service
- Louisiana Citizen Awareness and Disaster Evacuation Guide for Highway Contraflow Plans
- National Weather Service for St. John Parish
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- The Weather Channel
- St John Parish Government