Residents should prep for winter hazards
The Atlantic Hurricane season has ended but the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) cautions Louisiana residents to stay mindful of potential hazards that could affect their homes and families, especially during the winter.
GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis said, “Folks in Louisiana do a great job preparing their homes and families for hurricanes, but they need to keep in mind that there are other hazards that can threaten their safety. Just because hurricane season is ending, that does not mean families can forget about preparedness until next year. Being prepared is a year-round responsibility.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season was “above normal.” The season produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. This was above the average number of named storms, which is 12. The number of hurricanes was also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes was below the average of three.
Hurricane Isaac was the only storm to make landfall in Louisiana this season, which required GOHSEP to activate its Emergency Operations Center around the clock for more than a week. Isaac left most of the state without power for days, causing hundreds of millions worth of property and infrastructure loss and damaging more than 59,000 homes in the state when it made landfall.
Severe winter weather hasn’t hit Louisiana – yet. But, as has happened in previous years, winter weather can have serious effects on our state. To prepare for a winter freeze, families can take some simple steps now, so they will be prepared for severe cold:
• Store drinking water, first aid kit, canned/no-cook food, non-electric can opener, radio, flashlight and extra batteries where you can get them easily, even in the dark;
• Keep cars and other vehicles fueled and in good repair, with a winter emergency kit in each;
• Get a NOAA Weather Radio to monitor severe weather and sign up for weather alerts from your local Emergency Operations Center or from local media;
• Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees;
• Winterize your house, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Install storm shutters, doors and windows; clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks; and check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
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