Be Prepared: Defining Key Preparedness Terms

Disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and some human-caused events can create public emergencies here in Louisiana. Preparing for such events is the responsibility of everyone.

Preparation is the most important key to survival. It's crucial for individuals, families and entire communities to be ready to respond, no matter the situation. That is why it is so vital to put time into planning and preparation long before disaster strikes. Learning disaster emergency terms is one good way to prepare and to potentially save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

This useful guide identifies the state’s most likely risks, providing sheltering information, evacuation routes, a detailed list of supplies you might need and more. View the guide here: Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and be prepared.

Commonly Used Preparedness Terms:


The facility that provides coordination of all emergency response and recovery activities for the parish during declared emergencies.


A state-of-the-art digital system designed to give emergency information and instructions from federal, state and local authorities. The system interfaces with the cable television system as well as broadcast radio and television stations. When activated, it provides the latest information on weather, road conditions, evacuations, shelter locations and reentry information.


The most important instruction you will receive from local government officials. When appropriate, the State of Louisiana Evacuation Plan goes into effect. This plan may require, depending on predicted impact, the evacuation of those in vulnerable areas.


A flood that occurs within a few hours (usually less than six) of excessive rainfall or dam or levee failures.


A rise of the sea level along the shore that builds up as a storm (usually a hurricane) moves over water.


The path that a low-pressure area (hurricane, tornado, severe rainstorm) follows.


Issued when a particular weather or flood hazard is imminent or already occurring (e.g., tornado warning or flash flood warning). A warning is issued when conditions pose a threat to life or property.


Forecast issued in advance to alert the public of the possibility of a weather-related hazard (tornado watch, flash flood watch). It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.

To learn more about emergency and disaster preparation visit the Get A Game Plan website at

For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit Louisiana Hurricane Laura (DR-4559-LA). For the latest information on Hurricane Delta, visit Louisiana Hurricane Delta (DR-4570-LA). For the latest information on Hurricane Zeta, visit Louisiana Hurricane Zeta (DR-4577-LA). Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at

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