In its 2014 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted a near normal or below-normal season this year. For the duration of the six month hurricane season, beginning June 1, NOAA has predicted 8 to 13 named storms of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) including 1 to 2 major hurricanes.
History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Recent studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe. This is an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. Social media provides the perfect platform to model preparedness actions for others.
As first responders and public service agencies prepare statewide for the beginning of the 2014 hurricane season, Troopers urge the citizens of
Know the meaning and the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning:
· Hurricane Watch: conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.
· Hurricane Warning: conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours.
Before the Storm, Make Preparations:
· Assemble an emergency kit including flashlights, batteries, battery powered radio, first aid kit, evacuation maps, canned food and a non-electric can opener, important papers, and pertinent medical information including prescriptions.
· Prepare a personal evacuation plan selecting several locations suitable for your family especially in the case of individuals with special needs or with pets.
· Protect your home and valuables in advance from the possibility of strong winds and hurricane conditions in your area.
During a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch or Warning:
· Listen to radio/television for storm progress reports.
· Check emergency supplies.
· Fuel your car.
· Board up windows and secure outdoor furniture.
· Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings.
· Store drinking water.
· Review evacuation plan.
If Parish or State Officials tell you to evacuate:
· Leave as soon as possible.
· Make a family communications plan. Tell someone outside the storm area where you are going.
· Take emergency supplies with you that you have already prepared.
· Lock your home and turn off all necessary utilities.
After a Storm:
· Stay tuned to local radio or television and social media for information from your local or state officials.
· Return home only after state or local authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
For a complete list of storm preparation guidelines visit the LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness “Get a Game Plan” website at www.getagameplan.org and download the FEMA smartphone application to access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson urges citizens across the state to take hurricane preparedness seriously. “Now is the time to prepare. Property and valuables can be replaced, however; your personal safety and the well-being of your family should be paramount.” Colonel Edmonson explains, “Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that nature remains unpredictable. Citizens and first responders across our state know firsthand that it only takes one storm to inflict widespread damage.”
Troopers urge citizens to take advantage of several resources available to stay informed on emergency news and activities throughout the course of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane:
· To report stalled vehicles or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.
· For road condition information, motorists can dial 511 or visit www.511LA.org.
· Updates on emergency conditions across the state can be obtained by visiting www.gohsep.la.gov, www.lsp.org, and/or individual parish and local law enforcement websites.
· In addition, LSP Public Information Officers will continually update and post pertinent safety and emergency information on the LSP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LouisianaStatePolice) and through the Nixle Alert notification system (www.nixle.com). Citizens are encouraged to subscribe to these free services.