Never too early to be prepared

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 13, 2013

With the last blast of cold air likely behind the region until autumn rolls around again, those living in southern Louisiana
know there are two things on the way: festivals and hurricane season.
While the festivals are a welcome respite and make the often unbearable heat of a Louisiana summer just a little more bearable, the hurricanes are something most of us could do without.
For years it seemed as though crossing our fingers and hoping for the best did the trick, but since 2005, the area has not been so lucky. Of course in 2005 Hurricane Katrina brought unprecedented destruction to the New Orleans area. A few years later Hurricane Gustav slammed the River Region and was followed closely by Hurricane Ike, which though it didn’t strike the region directly caused major flooding issues for some area. And last year, Hurricane Isaac brought near Katrina-level destruction to large portions of St. John the Baptist Parish.
Needless to say, few in the area shrug off hurricane season as they did in the pre-Katrina years.
Still, many are caught unprepared when a storm actually does threaten. Remember, it is never too early to start your preparations. Keep a supply of bottled water and nonperishable food items on hand; the stores are often depleted by the time a storm starts to approach. Having flashlights with extra batteries and perhaps a battery-powered fan or two around is also a good idea. Generators have become a near necessity in recent years, and many homeowners have them at the ready, but if you do not have one, take advantage of the annual state storm season tax holiday
to get one. And make sure you have gasoline to make it run.
And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, make sure your family has a plan for when a storm approaches. Map out evacuation routes and have an emergency meeting spot. Keeping everyone safe and out of harm’s way is the most important element of storm survival.
Although the approach of hurricane season can send some running for cover, being prepared can take much of the stress out of the summer months in south Louisiana.