Severe Weather Awareness Week

Halen Doughty
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

Governor John Bel Edwards declared February 18 through 24th to be Severe Weather Awareness Week in Louisiana. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the National Weather Service (NWS) encourage Louisiana residents to "Get a Game Plan" to protect themselves, their families, and their homes in the event of a natural disaster.

Severe weather can happen anywhere in the state and during any season,” said GOHSEP Director James Waskom. “Dangerous conditions develop quickly and having your personal emergency plans in place can save lives. Use the information provided this week and GOHSEP’s Get A Game Plan resources to help protect your family, your home and your business. Be aware of the risks you face when severe weather strikes. GOHSEP and our partners will be sharing important safety information through social media each day for Severe Weather Awareness Week.”

Meteorologist-in-Charge National Weather Service Ken Graham said, "We can see severe weather any time of the year in Louisiana. Now is the time to review your severe weather plans and practice them well before the next weather warning. Our meteorologists are on duty 24 hours a day and when we issue a warning, it is time for action since every second counts. Remember a WATCH means conditions are favorable for severe weather or flooding. A WARNING means we detected severe weather on radar or received a report of severe weather."

Louisianians should have an emergency plan that outlines what they will do in the event of severe weather. That includes sheltering in place, which entails going indoors, closing all windows and doors, and staying inside until the weather has passed the the all clear has been given by local authorities. Information from local government can be found through the media on a battery operated radio or through the parish alert system.

Evacuation is another step all too familiar in the Bayou State. Evacuating requires people to plan for where they will go if their homes are unsafe due to severe weather. Identify friends, family members, or others that you can stay with during an evacuation. Remember that when severe weather hits, your original evacuation place may not be available, which is why it is vitally important to have a backup plan as well.

An emergency kit is an important part of any family's severe weather plan. The kit should include items that individuals will need in case they have to shelter in place or evacuate because of a natural disaster. Among other supplies, the kit should include: 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.

Gathering supplies in one place will help families locate them in the event of a power outage. The kit can also go with them if a family must leave their home. GOHSEP encourages families to utilize the online resources available as they put together their emergency plans.

Louisiana residents can take simple steps to protect themselves, their families, their pets and their homes. GOHSEP provides detailed tips and information for how to respond in the event of a tornado, flooding, thunderstorm, hurricane or other severe weather at

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides detailed, zip code level weather information for the public on its website The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) outlines what to do in many disaster scenarios on its preparedness site

Alert FM is a free App that allows GOHSEP to create and send digital alerts and messages based on geographic or organizational groups. Messages are delivered to the data subcarrier of existing FM transmitters around the US. Overlapping signals of FM stations ensure rapid message transmission even when other communication systems are disrupted.

The GOHSEP Get A Game Plan Podcast highlights key issues in emergency management. The podcast includes timely interviews with subject matter experts at all levels of government along with practical information to help you become more resilient before the next disaster strikes.

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