The 2018 hurricane season begins June 1 and state agencies and local officials are enforcing the steps people should take now to get ready.
Disaster preparedness is something officials enforce year after year, but they say, it’s key steps that can make a huge difference during the event of a disaster.
American Red Cross and Lafayette Emergency Preparedness work all year long to prepare for potential disasters. Officials say the first step for residents is to have an evacuation plan and emergency kit.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
- Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at redcrossstore.org.
- Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
- Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets. Take a First Aid and CPR/AED course (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you know what to do in case emergency help is delayed.
“Are you bringing family? How many people are you bringing? Are you bringing dogs? And then, of course, if you have medication.. you want to make sure you have a supply of that medication before you go,” said Craig Stansbury, Director of Emergency Preparedness Lafayette Parish.
“So there’s things you think about ahead of time are very important because unfortunately when it comes down to crunch time and you decide to leave, sometimes you miss some of these very important incidents that happen,” he added.
Hurricane season runs until November 30. Hurricanes cause problems for people in coastal areas and can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland
“Normal disasters that occur whether that be weather related such as a tornado or a flood or even a home fire… we need to make sure everybody is always prepared to have that evacuation plan to have that kit. Make sure they have the education to prepare in advance so when an emergency does happen, they know exactly what to do, where to go and they’re going to be safe in that process,” said American Red Cross Regional Director of Marketing and Communications Stephanie Wagner.
American Red Cross has its hurricane and emergency application for residents to use during a storm. It also has shelter information in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. The app can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross, texting ‘EMERGENCY’ to 90999, or by going to redcross.org/apps.
If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If they already have an emergency plan for their household, they should talk about it again with family members, so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.