WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — We’re entering the peak of hurricane season, so it’s better late than never to start preparing for the worst while still hoping for the best. Here are a few tips and things to consider doing to prepare for the rest of the season, which is still forecasted to be above average.

Take the time now, while there is no pressure to prepare, if you wait till a storm is at your doorstep, it’ll be too late.

What is your risk?

Determine how your home and livelihood could be affected by an incoming storm. Do you have any potential wind or water hazards? Is your area prone to flooding or power outages? These are all things that should be considered while preparing for the season. All of this and more can help decide if you need to evacuate or stay at home.

Develop an evacuation plan

Regardless if you choose to evacuate or not, it’s still a good idea to have an evacuation plan in case of emergency. Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Even if you don’t live in one of those zones you may need to consider evacuating if you are in a flood-prone area or mobile home. You don’t need to travel hundreds of miles, it could be a friend or relative’s well-built home.

If you are planning on going somewhere not nearby, know where you will go, how you will get there, and where you will stay. Make sure that this location can accommodate you for a few days. Also, account for your pets in this plan.

So, you decided to stay, that’s ok! Here is what you’ll need to keep safe:

Honestly, you’ll need these supplies regardless if you stay or not. This is for the duration of the storm and the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath.

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a several-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records are saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children

How to protect home sweet home:

It’s always a good idea to make sure your home is up to code no matter the weather. In the event of a storm, it may be advantageous to add support to your home. Have the proper plywood, steel, or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Move your vehicles to a safe location, trim trees, bring outdoor items inside or tie them down.

If you are a renter, discuss with your landlord about securing your home in advance. If you live in a neighborhood, help them prepare too. You wouldn’t want their trampoline impacting your roof, so giving them a gentle reminder is a great way to insure both homes’ safety.  

This article is part of a series, more coming soon.