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Hurricane season game plan: What to do before, during, and after the storm

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Hurricane season game plan: What to do before, during, and after the storm

Hurricane season is here, Louisiana

Preparation is key when it comes to hurricane season. Having a solid game plan in place before storms hit the forecast can make all the difference in you and your loved one’s wellbeing, safety, and ability to weather the storm.

In this post, we’re breaking down what you need to know about hurricane season—before, during, and after the storm.

What to do before a hurricane

Whether a tropical storm or hurricane is in the forecast or not, do these things ASAP to ensure you are prepared.

Develop an emergency plan

Start by establishing your emergency shelter location. Where will you, your family, and your pets take shelter during an emergency? It might be your home, a community shelter, or a close friend or relative’s house.

Next, map out an evacuation route. Depending on storm severity, a mandatory evacuation may be issued, meaning all residents and visitors must evacuate the area. In this situation, your parish may or may not offer community shelter, so it’s good to know exactly how you will evacuate the area (and where you will go) if necessary.

Will you have access to a vehicle? If so, it’s a good idea to keep your gas tank full and your car in good working order, and to have an extra set of car keys handy, just in case. If you don’t have your own vehicle and will need assistance to evacuate, there is help. If you live in Orleans Parish, you can Text EVACNOLA to 7729 to register letting them know you will need evacuation assistance. If you live in Jefferson Parish, you can contact JP Assisted Evacuation Assessment Registry by calling 504-349-5360 or emailing You can also register online or download the form and mail in.

New Orleans residents can sign up for emergency text, email, phone, or app alerts with NOLA Ready.

For more info on emergency preparedness, download the Get a Game Plan app, and visit the CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response webpage.

Build a disaster kit and a “go bag”

This is the best time to assemble a disaster kit of supplies for weathering the storm at home AND a “go bag” for use during an evacuation. Both kits should include the essentials and basic supplies you, your family, and your pets will need to stay safe for a couple of days in case of emergency.

What to include:

  • Cash in small denominations, in case ATMs, cards, and phone apps stop working
  • Important family documents including driver’s licenses, insurance policy and account numbers, birth certificates, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, and any other essential documents that you don’t want to lose
  • A small tool kit that includes pliers, a multipurpose penknife, and any tools needed to shut off your home’s gas, water, and electricity
  • Duct tape
  • A 30-day supply of any prescription drugs (Replace or rotate periodically to ensure they stay fresh and potent)
  • A first aid kit that includes basic over-the-counter drugs, like ibuprofen, and basic supplies like bandages, etc.
  • A three-day supply of clean water (at least a gallon per person / per day for three days) stored in non-breakable containers
  • A three-day supply of food; canned fruits and veggies, packaged crackers, granola bars, and other dry foods are best—remember that you may need extra water if the dried foods (like soup or oatmeal) need to be mixed with water
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses if you use them
  • A flashlight (mechanically powered diode flashlights that don’t require batteries are best)
  • Candles and matches (store in a waterproof container)
  • Mechanically powered portable radio
  • Extra batteries for any battery-powered equipment (sealed in a plastic bag)
  • Two-way walkie talkies or CB radio
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Sleeping bags or blankets and pillows
  • Personal hygiene items

Even if you are already vaccinated against COVID-19, you may also wish to include face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants in your kit—just in case!

For more info on building disaster kits, visit NOLA Ready’s Supplies checklist.

Make time for an insurance checkup

Pre-hurricane season is the ideal time to ensure your home and flood insurance is active and up to date. Do not wait until after the damage has been done to discover you aren’t covered. Once a storm is in the gulf, insurance policies will not be issued; it’s essential to obtain coverage ahead of time.

Prep your home

During a hurricane or severe storm, your home’s structural integrity may be the thing that keeps you and your loved ones safe. Be sure to evaluate your home’s structural soundness ASAP. Take videos and photos to establish your pre-storm “baseline” in case damage occurs.

Additional steps to take:

  • Reinforce all doors, windows, walls, and your roof; install storm shutters, roof clips, and garage door braces
  • Keep all trees and shrubbery well pruned and trimmed, particularly if trees could fall on your home or if branches are touching the roof
  • Keep gutters clear to prevent potential damage and flooding

Check on your neighbors

Community counts during an emergency. Check in on your neighbors and work together to create an emergency plan that will keep everyone as safe as possible.

What to do during a hurricane

If a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast to threaten our area, your emergency preparation will be put to the test. Stay indoors, stay up to date with the latest weather advisories, and stay calm.

Here is what to do when a hurricane is on the way:

Follow local news, TV, radio, and social accounts
Watch the news and be alert and aware of all advisories, warnings, and evacuation mandates in your area.

Additional resources include:

Secure your home
Bring outdoor furniture and other unsecured items inside, where they won’t blow away or cause damage. Close storm shutters. Lock windows and doors.

Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting
If the power goes out, this will help your refrigerator contents stay cold for as long as possible.Try to limit opening and closing doors to keep the interior as cool as possible.

Set aside extra water

Fill your bathtub, large pots, or other containers with water that can be used for cleaning and flushing toilets if the power goes out.

Unplug electronics, and turn off utilities and propane tanks if instructed

What to do after a hurricane

It’s essential to be cautious and stay safe after a hurricane. Just because the storm has passed, doesn’t mean the danger has.

To stay safe after a storm…

  • DO stay away from floodwater, and be aware of warnings about flooded streets and roads; avoid driving through floodwaters
  • DO use flashlights instead of candles; if you must use candles, be sure to keep them away from anything flammable and keep a fire extinguisher handy
  • DO discard any food that has come into contact with flood or storm water, or that hasn’t been refrigerated properly; when in doubt, throw it out
  • DO use bottled or boiled water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene until authorities say otherwise
  • DO NOT use wet electrical devices, and keep power turned off until an electrician says its safe to resume use; Learn more about post-disaster electrical safety here
  • DO NOT use portable gasoline or coal-burning equipment or camp stoves inside your home, basement, or garage
  • DO NOT enter damaged buildings until local authorities give you the go ahead
  • DO NOT approach or go near downed power lines

For comprehensive post-storm safety information and resources, visit:

FEMA for active and past disaster info, local