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Hurricane Katrina and Disaster Preparedness

19 Nov

The terrible images that came out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina have undoubtedly gotten many people thinking about disaster preparedness. Many people would like to know how they and their families can avoid the kind of suffering New Orleans residents experienced after the hurricane.

It is impossible to prepare for all disasters but there are a few simple things that people can do to be prepared. A little sensible disaster preparedness can help your family get through.

Disaster Supplies: Every household should have a few basic disaster supplies stored up. These include canned or dried food that you can eat without cooking. Flashlights and batteries, a battery powered radio, a first aid kit and a cook stove or heater that doesn’t require electricity to operate. Other items could include sleeping bags, fishing poles and tackle and a generator. If your family camps your camping equipment can suffice. If you live in a colder area keep warm clothing available. Residents of colder areas should also have a supply of wood or some other heating fuel available if gas or electricity goes out.

Disaster Plan: Create a basic plan of what to do if a disaster occurs. For example have a place for your family to meet if something goes wrong. If you think your area will have to be evacuated have an evacuation plan. Figure out what road you would take if you drive or if you can’t drive what alternate means are available. This could be a bus or a train. Also make sure that you have a plan for elderly or handicapped relatives or friends who live buy. For example plan to pick up elderly relatives and take them with you. Decide where to go beforehand. Have some additional gasoline available as well.

Money: Something most people forget to think about is money. Even after a disaster you will still need it. After Katrina many people with good jobs weren’t able to buy essentials because credit cards didn’t work. This means you should have some cash available. A few hundred dollars will be all you need. Don’t keep a lot of cash in your home and don’t show it to others. Instead go and get cash from the bank if you think a disaster is coming. It might also be a good idea to keep $100 or $200 in cash in your home. Another good thing to would be one or two emergency credit cards to take with you.


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  1. Paul Harris

    November 20, 2010 at 7:59 am

    As a tourist trapped in the Superdome during Katrina I highly recommend you keep not just 72 hours worth of supplies/food but a week’s worth. Also include books, toys, pet food as part of your supplies and store in a couple of locations if possible ie. work and home.

    Also it’s very important that you do your best to not let fear and rumors control you. Accurate communication is essential, so check out the rumors before accepting them as the gospel truth.

    Paul Harris
    Author, “Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina”