Don’t find yourself saying ‘I wish I had…’ if storm strikes

Patricia Skinner, Merrill, Thomas A.

News Release Distributed 05/19/08

Neglecting to make basic preparations could be a decision you heartily regret if a major storm or hurricane comes your way.

That’s a message LSU AgCenter experts are stressing as this year’s hurricane season approaches.

“Many of the areas most vulnerable to hurricanes were hammered so hard in Katrina and Rita that some people could find it easy to say, ‘What good would a flashlight and a few cans of tuna have done?’” said Pat Skinner, disaster recovery and mitigation specialist with the LSU AgCenter. “But looking at it that way really isn’t a good approach.”

As this year’s hurricane season approaches, Skinner is encouraging Louisiana residents to prepare to survive our more typical hurricane season, where you might be stuck in your home, or on the road, for a few days – not weeks or months.

“It just feels bad when you find yourself saying, ‘I wish I had…’ after a disaster strikes,” Skinner said. “The way to avoid that feeling is to be prepared!”

For most Louisiana hurricanes, here are some things the experts say you may want to make sure you do as part of your preparations:

–Put a flashlight in the car.

–Buy some extra batteries.

–Fill some containers with water.

–Keep nonperishable food in the house at all time – or, in other words, make sure you “don’t eat the last three cans of tuna” without quickly replacing them.

–Make sure there is a working battery-operated radio around!

“Most of us know these precautions,” Skinner said. “We’ve seen the emergency supplies lists. But we still manage to get caught short sometimes.”

Stocking up for a storm is even more difficult now, according to Skinner, who points out that tighter credit and soaring gas prices limit the available funds for buying supplies.

“But the sense of failure that comes with not having what we need at the time of a storm just compounds the problems,” she said. “So try stashing one or two preparedness items a week over the next few weeks, and before too long you’ll have what you need.”

Accumulating some of that stash may be a little easier this month, since Louisiana residents can buy certain hurricane preparedness items free of some sales taxes on May 24-25. During the two-day “sales tax holiday,” 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

Skinner also points out there’s much more to preparing your home for a power outage or other problems brought on by a storm than having flashlights, radios, batteries and food and water.

The LSU AgCenter specialist says you can find helpful information on such topics as making emergency preparations or what to do in case of an evacuation, formulating your family’s disaster plans, keeping track of your family, caring for pets, helping children prepare for a storm, safeguarding your home and property and much more in the Hurricanes section of the LSU AgCenter’s Web site.

Among the resources is “There’s a Hurricane Forming,” a helpful publication that includes a hurricane-tracking chart and checklists to help you make last-minute decisions about what to take with you if you evacuate, supplies you need to have on hand, preparations you can make if a storm is approaching and much more.

Hurricane-resistant home construction also is featured in the Rebuilding & Restoration section of the LSUAgCenter Web site. (Look at information in the Safer, Stronger, Smarter section, as well as useful links in other sections.)

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


Contact: Pat Skinner (225) 578-2910
Editor: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263

5/16/2008 9:56:45 PM
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