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Tips for Hurricane Season from Louisiana State Police

In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast an active or extremely active season this year.  For the duration of the six month hurricane season,which began June 1, NOAA has predicted 13 to 20 named storms of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.  

As first responders and public service agencies prepare statewide for the beginning of the 2013 hurricane season, Louisiana State Police urges the citizens of Louisiana to be prepared, plan ahead, and have a game plan in place before the arrival of a potentially dangerous storm.  

Know the meaning and the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning
·        Hurricane Watch: conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.
·        Hurricane Warning: conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours.

Before the Storm, Make Preparations:
·        Put together an emergency kit including flashlights, batteries, battery powered radio, first aid kit, evacuation maps, canned food and a non-electric can opener, important papers, and pertinent medical information including prescriptions.
·        Prepare a personal evacuation plan selecting several locations suitable for your family especially in the case of individuals with special needs or with pets.
·        Protect your home and valuables in advance from the possibility of strong winds and hurricane conditions in your area.

During a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Watch or Warning:
·        Listen to radio/television for storm progress reports
·        Check emergency supplies
·        Fuel your car
·        Board up windows and secure outdoor furniture
·        Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings
·        Store drinking water
·        Review evacuation plan

If Parish or State Officials tell you to evacuate:
·        Leave as soon as possible. Contraflow is the evacuation of last resort!  If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
·        Make a family communications plan. Tell someone outside the storm area where you are going.
·        Take emergency supplies, warm protective clothing, and blankets/sleeping bags to shelter.
·        Protect your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity, gas, and water.

After a Storm:
·        Stay tuned to local radio or television for information from your local or state officials.
·        Return home only after state or local authorities advise that it is safe to do so.

For a complete list of storm preparation guidelines visit the LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness “Get a Game Plan” website at www.getagameplan.org.

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson urges citizens across the state to take hurricane preparedness seriously.  “Now is the time to prepare. Property and valuables can be replaced, however; your personal safety and the well-being of your family should be paramount.”  Colonel Edmonson explains, “Regardless of the number of storms forecasted, citizens and first responders across our state know firsthand that it only takes one storm to inflict widespread damage and potential loss of life.”

Troopers urge citizens to take advantage of several resources available to stay informed on emergency news and activities throughout the course of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane:
·        To report stalled vehicles or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.
·        For road closure information, motorists can dial 511 or visit www.511LA.org for up to date road conditions.
·        Updates on emergency conditions across the state can be obtained by visiting www.gohsep.la.gov, www.lsp.org, and/or individual parish and local law enforcement websites.
·        In addition, LSP Public Information Officers will be continually updating and posting pertinent safety and emergency information on the LSP Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/LouisianaStatePolice) and through the Nixle Alert notification system (www.nixle.com).

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