Storm preparedness: Better safe than sorry
<p class="indent">With Tropical Storm Gordon slowly making its way down the Gulf Coast, we thought this would be a good time to remind our readers that it’s never too early to get a storm game plan ready.
<p class="indent">The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm, which made landfall Monday near Key West, Fla., is expected to reach coastal Mississippi and Louisiana later today.
<p class="indent">As of Monday afternoon the storm was lashing South Florida with high winds and heavy rains as it moved west-northwest at 16 mph. In Tallahassee, city officials offered sandbags to help homeowners prepare for potential flooding, and red flags flew over Pensacola-area beaches, where swimming and wading in the Gulf of Mexico was prohibited.
<p class="indent">At a news conference Monday afternoon, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell urged residents within the levy protection area to stock up on supplies and shelter in place.
<p class="indent">She also issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents outside the levy protection system, including the Venetian Isles, Lake Saint Catherine and Irish Bayou areas. Grand Isle also issued a voluntary evacuation order.
<p class="indent">Should the storm make its way to Southwest Louisiana, here are some helpful preparation tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
<p class="indent">• To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
<p class="indent">• Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
<p class="indent">• Make plans to secure your property:
<p class="indent">• Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
<p class="indent">• Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
<p class="indent">• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
<p class="indent">• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
<p class="indent">• Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
<p class="indent">• Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
<p class="indent">When the inevitable does strike, it’s best to be as prepared as possible.
This editorial was written by a member of the <em>American Press</em> Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include <strong>Crystal Stevenson</strong>, <strong>John Guidroz</strong>, retired editor <strong>Jim Beam</strong> and retired staff writer <strong>Mike Jones</strong>.