Time for hurricane precautions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2002

With the start of the hurricane season, it is time to take preventive steps to protect your home, experts said at a recent area conference.

“Many precautions are simple,” said LSU AgCenter Disaster Programs Coordinator Pat Skinner.

Skinner made these recommendations:

1. Trim dead wood and limbs out of trees.

2. Stake young trees so they will survive high winds.

3. Make a list of things in the yard that need to be brought in or tied down when a hurricane comes.

4. Repair termite damage that might make your home more vulnerable to wind.

5. Move your family photos and important household documents to upper shelves, where shallow flooding would not affect them. Do the same with household chemicals.

Skinner said detailed information is available in the LSU AgCenter publication, “South Louisiana Guide to Living with Hurricanes.” The guide has information about Louisiana’s unique susceptibility to hurricanes, how to make seasonal adjustments and emergency preparation and evacuation information. It also has phone numbers for the emergency management and LSU AgCenter Extension Service offices in the parishes at greatest risk. Copies can be viewed and downloaded by visiting the hurricane section of www.LouisianaFloods.org.

Hurricane and flood precautions, however, are not only a matter of protecting property. You also need a plan to keep in touch with family and friends should evacuation be necessary.

“Whether it’s for a hurricane or in response to a terrorist threat or incident, it’s very possible that the members of your family will be caught going in different directions and unable to communicate – even with cell phones,” Skinner said. “When that happens, you’d like to be able to find one another – sooner, rather than later.”

The disaster expert explained the best way to locate one another is to decide in advance that everyone will “report in” to someone outside the disaster area, like an uncle in Oklahoma or a close friend in Ohio.

“Decide now who the contact person will be, and give everyone the phone number,” Skinner emphasized.

Take a few minutes today and fill in a wallet card for each member of your family. Send one to the daycare center and school, too.