Experts share best hurricane safety tips
Published 12:06 am Saturday, June 25, 2016
RESERVE — Living in South Louisiana residents of St. John the Baptist Parish should always have a plan in the event of a hurricane. James Waskom, director for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, advises residents take multiple steps to make sure they are ready for a disaster.
“Basic preparedness steps involve preparing a plan, maintain a disaster supply kit, stocking essentials like food, water and medications for at least 72 hours,” Waskom said.
“Be prepared, have a plan. Also listen to weather forecasts and local officials.”
Waskom was just one speaker at a Hurricane Preparedness public meeting Wednesday night giving residents advice on to how to prepare and stay safe in the event of a hurricane.
Waskom advised residents to go to getagameplan.org and emergency.la.gov for more information on GOHSEP and how to stay one step ahead of a storm.
National Weather Service New Orleans Chief Meteorologist Kenneth Graham said there a number of meteorologists covering 22 parishes in Louisiana around the clock, watching for potential natural disasters like tropical storms, floods, tornados and hurricanes.
With hurricane season already here, Graham said, “it only takes one to ruin our day.”
“Now is the time to prepare,” Graham said.
“You could have a storm developing in the Gulf that could be on us in just a few days. Now is the time to start getting ready. The No. 1 cause of fatalities during hurricanes is storm surge.”
Graham also advises people download reliable weather apps and listen to state and parish officials for updates. Someone posted on social media, Graham said, warning people in Louisiana that there were three storms heading this way, which wasn’t the case.
For real weather updates, residents should check out the National Weather Service’s website, weather.gov.
After a big storm hits, one thing residents are always curious about is when they will receive power.
Kerry Jones, customer service representative for Entergy Louisiana, said the severity of the disaster determines how long it takes for power restoration.
“Something we want our customers, the residents of St. John, to know is that at Entergy we prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Jones said. “We think about how to restore power way before a storm threatens.”
Jones said that for a category 1 storm, it would take one to seven days to restore power to 90 percent of customers, where a category 5 can take longer than three weeks.
Power has to be restored to the generation station or power plant first before it can be restored to facilities, like emergency facilities, communications departments, businesses, neighborhoods and then individual houses.
Some of the most important information residents received was who to call in case of a disaster.
Individuals with special needs are encouraged to call the Health and Human Service Office at 985-536-4955 to register for assistance during an evacuation. For Emergency Preparedness, call 985-652-2222. To report power outages, residents should call 1-800-9OUTAGE.
Residents can sign up for emergency alerts via phone, text or email at sjbparish.com.