What you need to do now to be hurricane-prepared: from warehouse to paperwork |  entertainment / life

What you need to do now to be hurricane-prepared: from warehouse to paperwork | entertainment / life

Catch those batteries and start stocking up on water, because southern Louisiana’s lesser-known season has officially arrived and promises to be more brisk than average.

And even as blue tarps continue to ripple onto roofs from Hurricane Ida’s wrath, safety officials and longtime New Orleanians alike say it’s time to prepare for the next storm.

“Know what the plan is and get everything organized,” said Alisha Reed, a pharmacist and self-care advocate. “The plan helps reduce stress. It’s like an instruction manual to follow when you start feeling overwhelmed.”

Even those who postponed preparation until the last minute in the past are reconsidering their positions, given the pace of Ida’s approach last year.

“At this point, storms change so quickly that it’s hard to know what to expect,” said Susan Whelan, a New Orleans resident who moved to the area in 1982. “She seems to be getting older more quickly.”

Reed, Whelan, and other hurricane veterans outline what people can do today to prepare for the worst, even as the region collectively hopes for the best.


Professionals advise to start collecting — or updating — hurricane supplies now, before they run out of supply.

Keep essentials like a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, unscented bleach, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and at least three days’ worth of clothing and personal items stored in an accessible place.

“Make sure you have the right size batteries for the things you have,” Whelan said. “If you wait until there is a storm near the bay, all the C batteries will be gone.”

Devin DeWolf, a Baywater resident, said items like insect repellent and sunscreen were in particular demand after Ida, where her nonprofit Feed the Second Line helped get supplies to Bayou communities.

He added that there are necessary tools to sort out the damage caused to the house. Keep a cordless saw, tarps, rope, and masking tape on hand, if possible.

Devin de Wolf on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, stands in front of the temporary charging station he hosted at his solar-powered home in Bywater after Hurricane Ida knocked out commercial power across southeast Louisiana. His solar panels and batteries allowed him to get electricity while the rest of his block was in the dark.

“Having a small one-room air conditioner is a really good move if you have to live on a generator or solar power for a while,” said de Wolf.

Anyone who sweated during the Ida period would agree.


FORTEN 7 Sep 112021

Fortin- Lucille Fortin is faced with the task of cleaning her fridge at her home in East New Orleans after returning from Hurricane Ida. Evacuation ORG XMIT: Fortin.091221

City and parish officials recommend keeping water on hand for at least three days. Allocate a gallon of water for each person per day. Non-perishable items like canned soup and instant coffee are a no-brainer, either. Don’t forget openers and other essential utensils.

Whelan recommends purchasing a high-quality, high-capacity cooler, so you can take the contents of your refrigerator and freezer with you during an evacuation.

I made the mistake of leaving two pounds of crab meat in the fridge during Hurricane Katrina, only to come back a month later to clean. “Maybe that’s why I don’t make my own signature crab anymore,” she said.

In the wake of Ida, de Wolf said he cleaned a lot of refrigerators and freezers in his neighborhood.

“If you evacuate, you have a way of getting someone into your home,” he advised. “You don’t know how long it will go.”


Outages are common during storms, and as New Orleans saw with Ida, they can last for weeks.

These conditions lead to deaths every year from people who use gas-powered generators incorrectly, according to the US Product Safety Commission.

Ensure that your portable generator is in good working order, and do not operate it in an enclosed space. The commission warned that even garages with open doors and windows can collect enough deadly carbon monoxide. Generators should be located at least 20 feet from residences.

Whelan, who does not use a generator, keeps a flashlight in every room of her house, and keeps candles away for safety reasons.

“Why would we add another element of risk to a natural disaster?” She said sarcastically.

De Wolf, who launched the Get Lit Stay Lit initiative last year to supply solar power to local restaurants, recommended the community urge city officials to invest in solar panels and batteries to deal with an unreliable electricity grid.


Now is the time to locate your home and flood insurance policies and double-check that they are up to date. The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office also recommends taking videos and photos of your home’s interior and exterior before a storm hits.

Keep vital records such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, medical information and prescription cards in an accessible, water-resistant container, Reed said.

“As a pharmacist, I always recommend making sure all of your important medications are refilled once hurricane season starts. That way, your doctor can phone in refill packs early,” she added, adding that a good general rule of thumb is to have two weeks of medication on hand. Hand, if insurance permits.

And don’t forget your pets’ medical records, urged Zeus’ Place office manager Gaby Zapata, who has sent out hundreds of calls for the recordings during Ida.

“You should have rabies cards and be up to date on vaccinations. You should have physical copies of that information,” Zapata said. “A lot of hotels, even pet-friendly hotels, require proof that your pet is up to date.”


Expect cellular service to be intermittent to non-existent during and immediately after a storm. And when the power goes out, the wifi is cut off. Service providers say that text messaging, which does not rely on overburdened networks, is often more reliable.

Collect neighbors’ phone numbers in case of emergency. And designate someone outside the hurricane danger zone to be a point of contact in case you and your party break up.

Keep a battery-powered or manual radio on hand, so you can tune into local news for information.


Whether you plan to shelter in place or evacuate, charge the gas early, Whelan said.

“For Ida, I got gas on Friday, and it was really hard to get it,” she said. “In the future, I’ll have gas even faster if I need it.”

Likewise, emergency supplies such as jumper cables and a repair box can make a huge difference to drivers before and after a storm.

Those who do not have the means or ability to evacuate can register with their parish government for evacuation assistance.


Brainstorm ways to keep the kids occupied off the line and on long drives out of town.

“Don’t forget about their mental health,” said Reed, whose son turns seven later this month. Reed said he fears every storm will be like Hurricane Katrina because of what he sees on TV.

Limiting his access to the news and allowing him to help plan for hurricanes helped allay those fears.

“We have to remember that our children are anxious and we have no idea what is going on,” she said.

I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to keep kids comfortable during storms.

“We made the horrific decision to have my son’s tonsils removed as a storm approached,” she added. “Do not recommend. Cancel the appointment or surgery until the storm passes.”


Aside from keeping vaccination records on hand, there are many other ways pet owners can prepare for storm season. City and parish officials recommend keeping seven days of food and supplies ready to go. Zapata will add 30 Day Drugs to that list.

Zapata said owners should also consider how to find a lost pet. She recommended taking pictures of Fido (or Felix) from all sides, including the hallmarks. Tags and collars are also essential – if a furry friend is going to put up with it.

“And if your animal is chipped, find out which manufacturer your vet is using. Check how to keep the chip active,” she said, adding that many chip companies require membership or ongoing renewals.

She said vaccination requirements vary by state, so researching potential evacuation destinations early on is a good idea. So are the sturdy carriers, crates, and kennels that some hotels require.


If thinking about six months of hurricane season makes you anxious, you’re not alone.

There are homes that haven’t yet been fixed, and insurance claims that haven’t been paid yet — those sentiments are valid, Reid said.

“I think we can all agree that hurricane season is stressful,” Reed said. Stress affects our immune system, and our mental and physical health. Now is the time to discover healthy ways to cope.”

She recommends doing breathing, meditating and — of course — making a plan.

Jessica Fender is a blogging writer at TravelerBroads.com. You can reach her at [email protected]

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