Ask yourself these questions to see if you’re prepared for a storm

Claudette Reichel, Merrill, Thomas A., Skinner, Patricia  |  5/9/2008 1:32:51 AM

News Release Distributed 05/09/08

With hurricane season approaching, it’s a good time to ask yourself a few questions to determine if you’re appropriately prepared, experts with the LSU AgCenter stress.

“Having the right answers before a storm comes your way can help you be prepared if a hurricane strikes,” LSU AgCenter housing specialist Dr. Claudette Reichel advises.

Reichel and LSU disaster education coordinator Pat Skinner also say that even if you’ve been through a hurricane before, it’s easy to forget some of the preparations that can protect your property and family.

“It’s a good idea to review your plans and make sure you haven’t left anything off,” Skinner says, adding, “Taking the right precautions before a storm comes your way has the potential to save time, money, hassles and even lives if a hurricane strikes.”

The LSU AgCenter experts say taking the following hurricane quiz can help you gauge whether you’re prepared. It’s time to take action if you answer “No” or “I don’t know” to any of these 20 questions:

–Do you have a disaster survival plan?

–Have you planned an evacuation route and destination?

–Do you have an emergency communication plan for staying in touch or getting messages to friends and family?

–Is your homeowner's and flood insurance coverage up to date and sufficient to replace your home and belongings if they are damaged or destroyed?

–Do you have an inventory of your property and belongings?

–Do you have copies of your insurance policies, household inventory and other important papers, as well as other valuables, in a safe place – one that’s waterproof and fireproof?

–Do you know how to turn off your utilities (electricity, gas and water)?

–Do you have a plan and supplies on hand to protect and secure your home, outdoor items, boat, pool and so forth?

–Has your roof been inspected within the past six months?

–Have you trimmed the trees and shrubs around your house?

–Has your car been maintained, and are the tires, including the spare, in good condition?

–Do you have a plan of what to do with food in your refrigerator and freezer in the event of a possible power outage?

–Is your emergency phone list up-to-date and handy?

–Do you have emergency survival supplies such as batteries, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, lanterns, fuel, nonperishable food for three days, water jugs, manual can opener, medicines, traveler’s checks or cash, and so forth on hand?

–Do you have an emergency supply kit for your car?

–Do you have a plan of how to take care of family members with special needs (those with disabilities, infants or the elderly) in the event of a disaster?

–Have you decided what you will do with your animals if you must evacuate because of various types of hazards?

–Have you budgeted for the added expenses to protect your home, buy supplies, evacuate, clean up and recover?

–Have you discussed your emergency plans, duties and rules with your family?

–Do you know that the LSU AgCenter offers publications and other free information on disaster cleanup and recovery on its Web site and through its parish LSU AgCenter Extension offices across the state?

“Don’t flirt with disaster for your family or your home,” Skinner cautions. “Get the right answers now, before a major storm heads your way.”

Louisiana residents can buy certain hurricane preparedness items free of sales tax on May 24-25. During the two-day period, the first $1,500 in purchases of certain supplies will be exempt from state sale tax. Visit the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s Web site for more details on the “sales tax holiday.”

For more information on preparing for a disaster or recovering from one, contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office.

You also may find the online versions of such publications as “There’s a Hurricane Forming” in the publications section of the LSU AgCenter's Web site. Other resources also are available by visiting Hurricanes on the AgCenter Web site.

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Contacts:
Claudette Reichel at (225) 578-4440 or creichel@agcenter.lsu.edu 
Pat Skinner at (225) 578-2910 or pskinner@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:
Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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