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Hotard: Prepare for hurricane season

COVID-related stories continue to dominate the news at all levels, but here in South Louisiana we can never afford to forget that August and September are the heart of hurricane season.

This is the time of year when some of the most severe storms in our history – including St. John’s worst of all time, Hurricane Isaac – have struck. Storm season is unpredictable, and as we know firsthand, it only takes one storm to devastate our community. This hurricane season, preparation is even more necessary because of the added complications from the coronavirus.

It’s a good idea to set aside a little time to get fully prepared and ready in case of a storm. We all think about evacuation routes and where you’ll go if there’s an emergency, checking your emergency supply kit and first aid kit. But we must also think about things that just may save your home in the event of a storm. Touch base with your neighbors on their plans and emergency preparations. Clean and clear drains and catch basins near homes and businesses that assist with heavy rains.  Don’t forget to add masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products to your supply kits.

Also, this is one that is often forgotten about. Please make sure communication is part of your preparation plan. Have a list of family and neighbors’ phone numbers and email addresses. And please stay engaged in and informed with official St. John Parish outlets that provide accurate and timely information during emergencies. If our community is facing a storm or other emergency, we will be here getting you the most accurate information available as fast as possible. Social media platforms have now made it easier than ever to stay connected. Like and follow St. John Parish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay in the know on the latest with hurricane season and for emergency information should a situation arise. Please also check the Parish website at sjbparish.com and the Government Access Channel for updates (15/99,)

This is a time people will still be talking about a century from now. I know I will tell future generations of the amazing ways I have witnessed that our community comes together whenever there’s a challenge. We help each other through it. Despite the added complications from the coronavirus, hurricane season will be no different. We’ll get through it together by helping one another and caring for one another as one St. John Community. God bless and protect us.

Jaclyn Hotard is the parish president of St. John the Baptist Parish.  She may be contacted at 985.652.9569 or via email at parishpres@stjohn-la.gov.