Hurricane Safety Tips

With hurricane season approaching, people in south Louisiana could face widespread torrential rains, extremely strong winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes. These safety and health hazards can produce a deadly and destructive result. To help ensure that everyone in our community stays safe this season, we suggest that you, your family members and/or co-workers become familiar with the following safety tips.

Before the Hurricane Season

  • Know the hurricane risks in your area, and your community safety plan.
  • Find out where official shelters are located.
  • Develop a family hurricane action plan.
  • Review the condition of emergency equipment, such as flashlights, radios, generators, etc.
  • Ensure you have enough non-perishable food and water on hand.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery.
  • Buy plywood or shutters to protect doors and windows.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts.

Before the Storm

  • Check media outlets for official news of the storm’s progress.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles.
  • Have extra cash on hand.
  • Prepare to cover all windows and doors with shutters or other shielding materials.
  • Bring inside lightweight objects such as grills, lawn furniture, and garden tools.

During the Storm

In a warning area…

  • Check media outlets for official news of the storm’s progress.
  • Complete preparation activities such as putting up shutters and storing loose objects.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if told to do so.
  • If evacuating, try to leave during daylight.
  • Leave mobile homes.
  • Notify neighbors and family members of your plan to evacuate.
  • Take pets with you. Note: Shelters may not accept pets.

If staying at home…

  • Only stay at home if you have not been ordered to leave.
  • Stay inside a well-constructed building.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fill a bathtub, sink, or large containers with water for sanitary purposes.

In case of strong winds…

  • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered.
  • Close all interior doors, and brace external doors.
  • Stay in an interior firs-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

After the Storm

  • Check media outlets for official news of the storm’s passing and current road conditions. Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
  • Do not attempt to drive across flowing water.
  • Stay away from moving water, and do not allow children to play in flooded areas.
  • Call in emergency responders to attempt rescues. Many people have been killed or injured trying to rescue others from flooded areas.
  • Stay away from standing water. It may be electrically charged!
  • Have professionals check gas, water, and electrical lines for damage.
  • Use tap water for drinking and cooking only after local officials declare it safe to do so.

National Weather Service Advisories – Know what to Listen For

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch:
Hurricane/tropical storms are possible in the specified area of the Watch, usually within 36 hours. During the Watch, prepare your home and review your evacuation plan in case a Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning is issued.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning:
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in a specified area of the Warning, usually with 24 hours. Complete storm preparations and leave the threatened area if desired by local officials.

Short Term Watches and Warnings:
These warnings provide detailed information on specific hurricane threats, such as floods and tornadoes.

Flood Watch:
Informs the public and cooperating agencies of possible flooding. If you are in a Watch area, check flood action plans, keep informed, and be ready to act if a Warning is issued or you see flooding.

Flood/Flash Flood Warning:
A flood/flash flood warning is issued for specific communities, streams or areas where flooding is imminent or in progress. Persons in the warning area should take precautions IMMEDIATELY!