Hurricane season starts June 1 and forecasters are predicting a 45 percent chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, threatening both coastal and inland residents between now and the end of November. To help families stay safe, the American Red Cross is issuing the top six hurricane preparedness tips should a hurricane or tropical storm head for your community.
“We know the critical difference preparedness makes for each household in an emergency,” said Joshua Joachim, chief executive for the Red Cross in Louisiana. “As you take action this year, consider each person’s needs and how that might change if you had to evacuate suddenly, including moving to a shelter, or were without power for an extended period of time.”
Here are the top six things you should do now to be ready for Hurricane Season 2017:
1. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and evacuate if told to do so.
2. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.
3. Get access to NOAA radio broadcasts. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA weather radio in the Red Cross Store.
4. Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone. Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
5. Be informed. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as encouraged and make plans for pets. If travel is in your plans, learn about how emergency situations are communicated at your destination.
6. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for expert guidance on what to do before, during and after hurricanes as well as 34 other types of emergencies. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If an emergency plan already exists for the household, family members should talk about it again so everyone knows what to do and where to go if an emergency occurs.
Visit here for full information about what to do before, during and after a hurricane.
RED CROSS PREPARED Trained Red Cross disaster workers across Louisiana are ready to respond if needed, though more volunteers are needed.
“As part of your personal preparedness, please join us: become a Red Cross volunteer and receive training as soon as possible to serve when the time comes,” Joachim said.
Among the most needed positions are workers and managers in operating shelters, assessing damage, distributing supplies and coordinating with government operations. With opportunities available across 32 activities, there’s a position of interest for almost any volunteer.
To sign up, choose Volunteer Opportunities at redcross.org/Louisiana or contact your local Red Cross. Training courses are ongoing.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondel_z International Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines;and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; T O Y O T A; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.
Louisiana Ready 365 members are: Entergy, Dow, RoyOMartin, Tidewater, Acadian Ambulance, BASF, BNSF Railway, CenturyLink, ExxonMobil, Grainger, John Deere, Latter & Blum, Olinde’s, Whitney, and the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.