Are you hurricane ready?
Meredith Maxwell, M.D., M.H.A.
As New Orleanians, we know how catastrophic storms can wreak havoc on a community. We have experienced back-to-back storms and desolation, which has made us stronger and more resilient when faced with devastation. We know that being prepared can make a huge difference in the outcome. As we approach peak hurricane season, the state of Louisiana wants everyone to have a game plan in place in the event that a storm enters the gulf and threatens our area.
Family Evacuation Plan
First, develop a game plan on what you and your family will do in the event of hurricane. Write out every step and share with your family. Identify the responsibilities for each family member and plan to work together as a team. Here are some steps to take in an event of a storm:
- Understand your community warning signals, and listen to local officials and be ready to evacuate
- Have an emergency kit ready
- Learn the emergency plans at places where your family spends time at such as work, school and daycares
- Know your evacuation route, emergency shelters and checkpoints
- If you have to evacuate, fuel up, check your car and carry extra keys
- Have extra money saved to accommodate several days, weeks or months away from home. Keep in mind on extra expenses such as pets, food and gas.
- Have 3 to 5 days of emergency supplies ready to travel
- Bring large amounts of cash in case of power outages or credit cards not working
- Refill prescriptions in an event of a storm for a full 7 day prescription
- Give your children their identification information to carry with them
- If you have to evacuate, turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting
- Secure your home, turn off utilities at the source and lock up
Create a file containing personal information and keep it in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box. The file should include:
- Driver’s license(s)
- Vehicle registration and proof of insurance
- Medical and vaccination records
- Copies of prescription medicine labels
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Records for pets
- Pictures of your home, possessions and children
- Copies of your children identification information
Pets should not be left behind during a storm, and you should take them with you during evacuation. You should also not wait to the last minute to evacuate with a pet because some hotels or rescue officials may not allow pets. When evacuating, make sure you have:
- Food and water for at least three days
- Bowls and can openers
- Medications, records, and a pet first aid kit and book
- Grooming items, litter box, newspapers and etc.
- Leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets
- Pet bed and toys
- Photos and a description of your pet
- Copies of feeding schedule, medical conditions, behavioral problems, name and telephone in case you have to place your pet in foster care
To learn more about emergency and disaster preparation, prevention, response, recovery and mitigation, visit the Get A Game Plan website at getagameplan.org. The Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide can help you and your family. From identifying our most likely risks to providing shelter information to listing supplies, this is your guide to being prepared. The state wants our residents to quickly bounce back and withstand devastation.
Meredith Maxwell, M.D., M.H.A., attended the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, where she completed her family medicine residency, before joining the Touro Infirmary Health System. She is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine Diplomate. Dr. Maxwell chose family medicine because she gets to see patients of all ages and the whole family.