Sheriff Mike Couvillon offers the following preparation tips for the 2021 hurricane season for residents of Vermilion Parish.
There are three phases for hurricane planning:
1. Before – Prepare for the hurricane.
2. During – Where you will be during the hurricane.
3. After – Planning for your return, assessing damaged, contacting insurance holders, cleanup.
Education and planning are key to hurricane preparedness. With proper education and planning, along with cooperation and support, the effects of disasters caused by hurricanes, floods, and other major hazards can be significantly minimized.
The Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office works closely with local, state, and federal officials as it relates to hurricanes and other emergency situations to ensure the safety and well-being of all Vermilion Parish residents.
Good, sound emergency preparedness is perhaps the single most important defense against these potential killers.
Preparation means learning the hurricane warning messages and planning ahead to help reduce the chances of injury and major property damage.
Hurricanes are low-pressure weather systems with wind speeds of 74 mph and higher. Even with today’s sophisticated computer forecasting models, a hurricane’s path, strength, and potential for damage cannot be exactly predicted.
As hurricanes approach land, a hurricane watch or warning is issued for coastal and inland residents in the storm's path.
Hurricane Watch- Indicates hurricane conditions are possible within 24 to 36 hours.
Hurricane Warning- Indicates hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
Measuring Hurricane Strength:
· Category 1:
o Minimal Damage
o Winds = 74-95 mph
o Storm Surge = 4-5 feet above normal
· Category 2:
o Moderate Damage
o Winds = 96-110 mph
o Storm Surge = 6-8 feet above normal
· Category 3:
o Extensive Damage
o Winds = 111-130 mph
o Storm Surge = 9-12 feet above normal
· Category 4:
o Extreme Damage
o Winds = 131-155 mph
o Storm Surge = 13-18 feet above normal
· Category 5:
o Catastrophic Damage
o Winds = greater than 155 mph
o Storm Surge = generally greater than 18 feet above normal
10 STEPS TO A GOOD HURRICANE SURVIVAL PLAN
(If/when told to evacuate)
I. DECIDE WHERE YOU WILL GO
1. Evacuate to central or northern Louisiana.
2. Go to a friend or family member's home- only if it is structurally safe and out of the risk area.
3. As a “last resort”, go to a designated shelter.
II. BUILDING A SURVIVAL KIT
There are six basics that you should stock for your disaster supply kit: water, food, clothing and bedding, first aid supplies, tools, emergency supplies, and special items. Keep these items in a waterproof container that can be easily transported from your home to your vehicle and to a safe place. Assemble your kit now to allow for immediate action during an emergency. Your family’s disaster supply kit should include at least a three-to-five-day supply of the following:
1. Water - 1 gallon of water per person per day.
2. Non-perishable food - Ready to eat canned meats, fruit and vegetables, canned juices, high energy foods, vitamins, comfort goods, condiments, food for infants and family members with special needs.
3. Clothing and Bedding - Sturdy shoes or work boots, reindeer, blankets or sleeping bags, hats and gloves, sunglasses, and/or clothing appropriate for weather conditions.
4. First Aid Supplies - assemble a first aid kit for your home and vehicle.
5. Tools and Emergency Supplies - mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, emergency preparedness manual, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, flashlight and extra batteries, cash and/or traveler's checks and change, non-electric can opener, utility knife, fire extinguisher, tube tent, pliers, duct tape, compass, matches in a waterproof container, aluminum foil, plastic storage containers, signal flare, paper, pencil, needles and thread, medicine dropper, shut off wrench to turn off household gas and water, whistle, plastic sheeting, sanitation supplies, official deep DOTD travel map.
6. Special Items- infant and medical supplies, entertainment (games and books), important family/financial documents.
III. LEARN EVACUATION ROUTES AND PROCEDURES
· Learn what evacuation routes will be used.
· Decide your destination now so you can become familiar with the area.
· Secure hotel reservations in advance.
· If evacuating with someone with special needs, check with the facility to see if they can accommodate their needs.
· Know the road conditions, traffic controls, and vehicular restrictions on your planned evacuation route.
IV. SPECIAL NEED FAMILY MEMBERS IN NURSING HOMES OR CLIENTS OF HOME HEALTH CARE
· Do they have a Disaster Plan and do they hold In-House Emergency Preparedness Training for employees?
· Confirm that they have identification procedures that include bands or cards.
· Do they have evacuation transportation services?
· Do they have agreements with host facilities?
· Is there a checklist that will accompany clients (meds/special foods)?
· Do they have maps with evacuation routes highlighted?
· Confirm that there are transfer forms authorizing the admission of residents into hospitals when necessary.
Remember that your elderly family members will often be frightened and need to know where you will be during and after an emergency. You should re-establish contact with them as soon as possible after the emergency has passed.
V. SPECIAL NEED FAMILY MEMBERS AT HOME
Update every year before hurricane season)
Purchase: One month supply of medications and instructions, one month supply of medical or special sanitary needs, one month supply special dietary needs, hurricane supplies such as food, water, flashlight, and batteries.
Update: Name, address, and phone number of designated family member/friend to contact, medication list, special doctor’s orders, health insurance policy information, register with Council on Aging, register for evacuation program, sheltering information, and evacuation plan.
Store: SSN cards, birth certificates, marriage/death certificates, driver’s license or ID, cash and credit cards, wills, insurance policies, deeds and mortgages, stocks and bonds, savings and checking, inventory of household goods (photograph or video) small valuables.
VI. PROVISIONS FOR ANIMALS
Make plans for your pets in advance. Where will you house your pet(s)?
· At a friend or family member's house.
· A kennel with boarding capabilities.
· A hotel if they allow pets.
· At home with you if you do not evacuate.
Have a pet supply kit with their ID collar, rabies tag, pet carrier, leash, current photo, food/water, feeding/water bowls, cleaners, and disinfectants, etc.
Livestock should be evacuated as soon as possible, and arrangements should be made well in advance as to routes, and host sites.
VII. PREPARE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS
Secure the following items in waterproof containers:
· Social Security cards
· Birth Certificates
· Driver’s License
· Cash, Credit Cards
· Insurance Policies
· Marriage and Death records
· Deeds, mortgages, stocks, and bonds, bank account records, property inventory.
· Small valuables: cameras, jewelry, etc.
VIII. INSURANCE AND PROPERTY INVENTORY
Make sure your current insurance policy is updated and provides maximum coverage, to help minimize your losses during the aftermath of a disaster.
· Homeowners insurance
· Wind and hail insurance
· Flood insurance
· Renter’s insurance
IX. PROTECTING YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY
· Know how to turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
· Post a set of instructions that can be easily followed by others in the family.
· Fill bathtub in large containers with water for sanitary purposes.
· Remove objects from around your home that could become dangerous with wind-driven projectiles.
· Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only as needed.
· Freeze water to create ice and ensure adequate supply by storing extra in large bags.
· Turn off propane tanks.
· Board up windows.
X. EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION AND ALTERING SYSTEMS
When emergency closing of schools occurs, information will be provided by the following television and radio stations:
· TV Stations - KATC, KADN, KLFY, KLWB, Cox cable.
· Radio Stations- Alexandria (AM 970, AM 580, FM 93.1, FM 96.9), Baton Rouge (AM 1150, FM 102.5), Crowley (FM 102.9), Lafayette (FM 99.9).
· Emergency- Dial 911
· Sheriff's Office – (337) 898-4402
· Police Jury – (337) 898-4300
· Vermilion Parish School Board – (337) 898-5764
· Do not return to your residence until advised to do so by local authorities.
If you decide that you will not evacuate, it’s important to understand that if a hurricane is approaching our area and there is a need for you and or your family to be evacuated and/or rescued because of rising water, structural damage, or other emergency reasons, the Sheriff's Office/First Responders will not respond until it’s safe to do so.
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