The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season is officially underway and Governor John Bel Edwards, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) urge everyone to Get a Game Plan.
Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency plan in place for you, your family, your pets and your business, if you haven’t already. “This is a great time to recheck your emergency plans and supplies,” said Gov. Edwards. “As our partners at the National Weather Service often say, it only takes one storm to change the outlook. We must remain vigilant. We have vastly improved the way we prepare for a storm, but we also need the public to understand their role in preparedness. That includes being aware of the risks you face and knowing what steps to take before, during and after an event.”
GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom said, “Get your emergency kits ready and include at least three days of supplies. Try to maintain an emergency fund in case you are forced from your home with little notice. As we have seen with past storms, each event is different and includes different challenges. Being prepared means planning now, and not waiting for an emergency. An emergency plan can help protect your family and make recovery easier if we do face a tropical threat.”
“Last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael reminds us again of the damage and destruction from various hazards such as wind, storm surge, heavy rainfall and flooding that hurricanes can bring to not only coastal areas but inland areas where flooding from heavy rainfall can be especially deadly,” said Frank Revitte, Warning Coordination Meteorologist—National Weather Service New Orleans/Baton Rouge. “Now is good time to make sure you have a hurricane plan ready for this upcoming season.”
During a tropical event, the state could be impacted by tidal surge, flooding and wind damage. It is important that you listen for crucial information from GOHSEP, other state agencies, local officials and your local weather experts.
A list of hurricane supplies, evacuation information and other critical information can be found on the www.getagameplan.org website. Here are some examples of what you and your family may need in the event you must evacuate or shelter in place:
• A three to five day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won’t spoil
• One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person
• A first aid kit that includes your family’s prescription medications
• Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
• An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler’s checks
• Sanitation supplies
• Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members
• An extra pair of glasses
• Important family documents in a portable, waterproof container
• Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
• Paper and pencil
• Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
• Infant formula and diapers
• Pet food and extra water
Likewise, Attorney General Jeff Landry reminds Louisiana citizens to be vigilant in preparing to weather any storm that may impact our State. “Unfortunately, Louisiana knows all too well the damage that can be caused by natural disasters and the con artists trying to profit off of them,” said General Landry. “So I am encouraging the people of our State to get prepared and be aware of potential scams and ways to avoid becoming victims of them.” His office encourages consumers to make fraud awareness an important part of their hurricane safety and preparedness plans this season by becoming familiar with the following common disaster-related scams.
• Identity Theft–Safeguard personal information in the event of an evacuation. Take sensitive personal documents with you or put them in a secure, waterproof location such as a safe deposit box or home safe. Personal information items may include passports, credit cards, checkbooks, car registrations, home title, insurance contracts, college degrees, health insurance cards, Social Security cards, birth certificates, and marriage licenses.
• Home Repair Scams–Check credentials before hiring someone to repair damaged home. Verify potential contractors by calling the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at (800) 256-1392. Get at least three written estimates and make sure each contractor bids on exactly the same work. Always require the contractor to show proof of workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. Do not agree to a large down payment. Get a contract in writing and keep a copy of it in a safe place. Pay by check or money order and keep all receipts.
• Price Gouging–Report suspected price gouging to local law enforcement. Price gouging is the increase in prices or value for goods and services that are higher than the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services at or immediately before the time of the state of emergency. A price gouging ban is placed on an area following the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor or Parish President. This ban can remain in effect up to 30 days after the state of emergency ends. Price gouging is not attributable to verifiable market fluctuations and usually involves gasoline, hotels, and generators.
• Phony Emergency Response Officials–Watch out for con-artists posing as government officials or insurance adjusters. Verify validity of people claiming to be government officials or insurance adjusters by asking for and confirming proper identification. Do not give out any information until you have checked with the actual agency or insurance company the person claims to represent. Never give cash on the spot to any individual who shows up claiming to be an insurance agent or disaster aid worker.
• Fake Charities–Make sure the charity is legitimate before donating. Visit www.guidestar.org to find out if the charity is actually an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Contact General Landry’s Charitable Registration Section, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Corporations Database, and the Better Business Bureau before you donate.
Hurricane season officially ends November 30th.