NARRATOR: Could this be what your home looks like after the next hurricane strikes? Many people thought a hurricane like Katrina would never really happen. If you had to evacuate, where would your family go? What would you take with you? The time to decide and the time to prepare is now, not when the order is given.
Step 1: Get a copy of The Family Disaster Plan. Discuss it with your family members, so that everyone knows what to do when the time comes. These free resources are available from the National Weather Service or the American Red Cross websites.
Step 2. Put together a supply kit. It should include a supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day), canned and boxed foods that won't spoil, at least a 7 day supply of medications, a first-aid kit, flashlights, and special items for infants, the elderly, and family members with any physical limitations.
Step 3. Buy a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards. It will broadcast warnings, watches, and forecasts 24 hours a day, every day, until a hurricane or other dangerous weather event is gone. Weather Radios are sold online or at any store that sells TVs and radios.
When the National Weather Service issues a Hurricane Watch it means a storm with sustained winds over 74 mph is a possible threat within 36 hours. Pull out that emergency plan and double check your kit. Install hurricane shutters, test your generator, and make sure you have enough fuel. Bring in patio furniture and any other loose items that could blow into windows.
A Hurricane Warning means that the storm will hit your area within 24 hours or less. Once a Hurricane Warning is issued it is time to sit tight. Do not leave your house. Hurricane Force winds are extremely dangerous. Only when Emergency Managers tell you to evacuate, then do so immediately. Many people who stayed put during Hurricane Katrina were severely injured or killed.
Pack up your pets, medicines, the deed to your home, and other emergency items and get out! It's only a matter of time before a devastating hurricane hits the coast where you live. Make sure you are prepared.