BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Governor John Bel Edwards has declared the week of Feb. 29 to March 4 to be "Severe Weather Awareness Week" in Louisiana. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the National Weather Service (NWS) and other partners encourage the public to "Get A Game Plan" to protect themselves, their families and their homes in the event of severe weather.
Meteorologist-in-Charge National Weather Service Ken Graham said, "The recent tornado outbreak in Louisiana reminds us how critical advanced preparedness is for you, your family, and your place of work. When we issue severe weather warnings, know what action you need to take ahead of time as every second counts. Help us as we strive to build a Weather-Ready Nation by having a plan well before the next storm strikes."
State officials request that families and individuals prepare an emergency plan that outlines what they will do if they have to shelter in place because of severe weather and what they will do if they have to evacuate during severe weather. Sheltering in place means going indoors, closing all windows and doors and staying put until the severe weather has passed and the all clear has been given by your local government.
You can get safety information from your local government through the local media, on a battery operated radio or through your parish's alert system. Evacuating requires that individuals and families have a plan for where they will go if their homes are unsafe. Identify several friends, family members or others that you can stay with during an evacuation. Remember: when severe weather hits, your original evacuation place may not be available, so you should have a backup plan.
An important part of every family or person's severe weather plan is packing an emergency kit that includes the items they will need in case they have to shelter in place or evacuate because of severe weather. This kit should include, among other supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio and lantern, a first aid kit, canned food and a non-electric can opener, special medical items for any members of the family with special needs, high energy foods like peanut butter and jelly, crackers and granola bars, a utility knife, plastic sheeting, protective clothing and rainwear, a change of clothes for each family member and at least three gallons of water per person and pet. Emergency managers say gathering supplies in one place will help families locate them in the event of a power outage. If a family must leave its home, the kit can go with them.