Hurricane expert Dr. William Gray, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, and his colleague Phillip J. Klotzbach, have predicted an active 2008 season well-above average Atlantic Basin tropical forecast.
With Dr. Gray’s latest prediction, Sheriff Theriot advises Parish residents, “As always, the hurricane season in Louisiana is a time for vigilance, but with notice of an even more active season, we all need to take even more precautions.
“Preparation and planning are key elements in protecting lives and staying safe. So start now and avoid the rush at home supply stores, supermarkets, and other businesses that get crowded as hurricane watches and warnings are issued. Don’t wait until the last minute.”
One of nature’s most powerful forces, hurricanes turn warm ocean water into powerful winds capable of catastrophic devastation. They bring heavy rains that threaten coastal areas and play havoc to areas hundreds of miles deep inland. Hurricanes’ winds can bring storm surges and tornadoes, too. “This, we can remember all too well from 2005's sister-storms Katrina and Rita,” Sheriff Theriot said.
“With the 2008 hurricane season here, the most important thing to do is to get you, your family, and your home ‘hurricane ready.’ Start early. Start now.”
There are six basics you should stock for your home when building a Disaster Supply Kit: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items.
•Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Allow two quarts of water per day for normally active persons. Hot environments and intense activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and people who are ill require more.
•Store one gallon of water per person per day.
•Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Pack a can of sterno, if you need to heat food. Select foods that are compact and lightweight. These are some suggestions for your Disaster Supplies Kit:
•Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
•High energy foods
•Staples (salt, pepper, sugar, spices, etc.)
•Food for infants
FIRST AID & NON-PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.
First Aid Kit
•2 germicidal hand wipes or waterless, alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• 6 antiseptic wipes
• 2 pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
•adhesive tape, 2" width
•scissors (small, personal) and tweezers
•CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
•20 adhesive bandages of various sizes
•1 large sterile dressing, 1 roll of gauze bandage, 2 triangular bandages, 4 medium sterile gauze pads, and 1 3" roll of cohesive bandage
•Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
•Antacid (use for stomach upset)
•Syrup of Ipecac (induce vomiting, if advised by Poison Control Center)
•Activated charcoal (use if advised by Poison Control Center)
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
•Mess kits (paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils)
•Emergency preparedness manual
•Map of the area for locating shelters
•Battery-operated radio and flashlight (extra batteries for both)
•Non-electric can opener and utility knife
•Cash or traveler’s checks, change
•Fire extinguisher (small canister ABC type)
•Pliers and shut-off wrench (to turn off household gas and water)
•Compass, matches in waterproof container, signal flare, and whistle
•Plastic storage containers, aluminum foil and tape
SANITATION, CLOTHING & BEDDING
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
•Toilet paper and towelettes
•Soap, liquid detergent, disinfectant and household chlorine bleach
•Personal hygiene items and feminine supplies
•Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation use)
•Plastic bucket with tight lid
Clothing and Bedding
•Sturdy shoes, rain gear, hat and gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses
•Blankets or sleeping bags
Remember family members with special needs such as infants, the elderly and disabled persons.
Infants — Formula, diapers, bottles, powdered milk and medications
Adults — Heart and high blood pressure medication, Insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies and extra eye glasses
Entertainment — Books for adult readers and for children, and board games and other games that do not require batteries or electricity
•Do not leave your pet behind.
•Fasten a current identification tag to your pet’s collar and carry a photograph of your pet.
•Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes.
•Check with hotels in safe locations and ask if you can bring your pet. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets.
•Call family, friends and boarding kennels in a safe location to arrange care if you and your pet cannot stay together.
•Pack a week’s supply of food, water, medications and other provisions for your pet.
•Keep a list of emergency phone numbers (veterinarian, animal shelters, Red Cross, etc.).
POSSESSIONS & DOCUMENTS
Keep records in a waterproof, portable container:
•Stocks and bonds
•Bank account and credit card numbers
•Inventory of valuable household goods and important telephone numbers
•Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
•Store your kit in a place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
•Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
•Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
Finally, Sheriff Theriot said, “Time is on your side right now. Take advantage of it. Get ‘hurricane ready.’ Call the Sheriff’s Office if you need further information. We’re here to help you.
“Since hurricane forecasters have predicted an active season, don’t get caught in the rush of a hurricane warning. Act now; you’ll be glad you did.”
(Sources: American Red Cross and National Hurricane Center)