BATON ROUGE, La. – The days are long, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are warming, and hurricane season is here once again. Just hearing this news could bring about significant stress, especially if you’ve been through a previous disaster. To combat stress, take action now. Each positive action you take can help you feel better and more in control.
Look for steps you and your family can take to prepare ahead of time for any disaster-related needs. It’s time to make a plan today.
Federal Coordinating Officer John Long leads the FEMA effort helping Louisianans to recover from a very active two-year period of hurricanes and other natural disasters. He urges families to be prepared for the 2022 hurricane season. He advises, “It is up to each family to plan what they will do if there is a threat of severe weather. FEMA will work with you to recover, but you determine your family’s safety by the work you do to prepare ahead of time.”
Your family may not be together when a storm strikes, so you need to know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if you are separated. Write down your contacts and plans. You can download the Family Emergency Communication Plan Fillable Card at https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2019-06/family_commfillable_cards.pdf. Print a copy for each member of the family. Make sure everyone in the family has copies and keeps them in a safe place, like in a backpack, wallet, or taped in a notebook. Also put those plans in your cell phones.
Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations. Consider places in your house, in your neighborhood, and outside of your city or town so you are prepared for any situation. Hold regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.
Being prepared for an emergency isn't just about staying safe during a storm or a disaster. It's also about how to stay comfortable, clean, fed, and healthy afterwards. If the power goes out, you may not be able to go to the store or the bank. Being prepared means having your own food, water, cash, and other supplies to last for at least three days, and possibly longer if you are in a remote or hard-to-reach area.
Make a kit
Remember that your kit will depend on your own needs. Include clothing, toiletries, and medications. Once you have the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors. You can download and print emergency checklists for parents and kids at https://www.ready.gov/kids/family-emergency-planning/build-a-kit.
It is a challenge to rebuild your life after a destructive storm or other emergency. Having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is critical for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently.
- Gather financial and critical personal, household, and medical information.
- Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATMs and credit cards may not work during and after a storm when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel, or food.
- Obtain homeowners or renters insurance, health insurance, and possibly life insurance, if you do not have them. Review your policy to make sure the amount and types of coverage you have meets the requirements for all possible hazards (https://www.ready.gov/be-informed). Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (www.floodsmart.gov).
- For more helpful insurance and financial preparedness tips, download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit at https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/ready_emergency-financial-first-aid-toolkit.pdf
Louisianans can find much more information about planning for the next hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster –by visiting https://www.ready.gov/.
For the latest information on Hurricane Ida, visit fema.gov/disaster/4611. Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6 or on Facebook at facebook.com/FEMARegion6/.