NEWS

Hurricane season begins June 1

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins each year on June 1.

Gov. Bobby Jindal visited the New Orleans Saints training facility Friday to promote new public service announcements, which feature the governor with Saints players Devery Henderson, Marques Colston and Lance Moore.

The campaign promotes hurricane readiness.

Prior to the start date of hurricane season, the four percent state sales tax is waived on the first $1,500 of a sales price on certain items for two days to encourage Louisiana residents to prepare for possible storms.

This year the Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales and Tax Holiday fell on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31.

During the sales tax holiday, residents can buy light sources such as flashlights, portable radios, tarpaulins, fuel tanks, batteries, chargers, portable generators, storm shutter devices, carbon monoxide detectors and cooling products without paying state sales tax.

The area chapter of the American Red Cross also urges residents to be prepared.

Kendall Hebert, public relations director for the American Red Cross, said the three basic preparedness actions are: get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

“Even if you took action to prepare last hurricane season, it’s important that you revisit and update your communication plan and check your disaster supplies kit for expired items,” she said.

The American Red Cross recommends assembling a supplies kit by gathering emergency items that would be needed in the event of a storm.

A portable kit should be sturdy, easy to carry, water resistant and have enough supplies for three days.

Also recommended are having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home and to keep in a smaller kit in the trunk of a vehicle.

Kits should be replaced and stocked every six months, and include a gallon of water per person, per day, and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods.

It should also have a can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, medications, important documents, cash, clothes, blanket, tools, extra keys, extra glasses or contact lenses, pet supplies and special items for infants, the elderly and the disabled.

Families should also create a disaster and evacuation plan. Families should agree on two meeting places: one right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency and one outside of the neighborhood.

It is also recommended that an out-of area emergency contact person is established. During a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance when local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.

The Safe and Well Web site, at www.redcross.org, is accessible at all times. People involved in disasters can leave “safe and well” messages for loved ones.