Prepare And Protect Your Home

NEW ORLEANS -- Though evacuation when told to do so by
authorities is the only sure life-saving measure and flood insurance is a must in any
flood-prone area, as the hurricane season officially starts property owners
should prepare now and protect homes and possessions from both hurricane winds
or floodwaters.

One line of defense is to ensure any buildings in hurricane-prone areas are up to and
above local and state building codes and standards, which may even result in
insurance savings.

Homeowners should make sure the property has roof braces (which strengthen gabled rooftops),
storm-resistant windows and doors and/or storm shutters, entry doors with heavy-duty deadbolts, and
stronger or reinforced garage doors. These measures help secure houses against wind damage.

Along with home elevation, FEMA recommends raising electrical components, heating, venting or
cooling (HVAC) equipment, and appliances at least 12 inches above your community's base flood
elevation requirement, which may help minimize flood damage. FEMA also suggests anchoring any
buried or above-ground fuel tanks. Also, backflow valves, which block drain pipes and prevent
sewerage water from backing up into a house, can be installed by a licensed plumber or contractor.
Flooded street after levee breaks in New Orleans (FEMA photo by Liz Roll)
                Hurricane Season Is Here
           Prepare And Protect Your Family And Yourself
      
     
NEW ORLEANS -- Make a disaster kit, have an evacuation plan, be informed, get involved, know
evacuation routes, and evacuate when asked to by authorities. These are steps that FEMA and other
authorities advise, as the Atlantic hurricane season is officially here.

Survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita know all too well the possible
dangers of a hurricane. But the serenity of the years since Katrina may have
brought on a complacency that can open the door to imminent danger from
any future hurricanes.

Everyone should know their risks. Whether you live in a coastal state or not,
you should prepare,  because even inland states often receive damaging
flooding as a result of hurricanes. People living in manufactured housing,
FEMA trailers, and mobile homes should be even more keenly aware of their risk during a hurricane.

In addition to preparing your home for hurricane season, you should take other precautions to protect
yourself, such as preparing a "disaster kit" for your home.

This should include enough non-perishable food and water to sustain you and your family up to 72
hours or longer; utensils (especially a can-opener) important papers, travelers checks and extra cash,
battery -powered radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a first aid kit, prescription medicines, personal
hygiene items, extra clothes, blankets and shoes as well as necessary items for your pets.  

Also, have an emergency kit for your car in case you need to evacuate.

For more information on preparing your disaster kit visit
www.ready.gov/.

Make an evacuation plan, and include your pets. Know what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure
you know how to contact family members and have an emergency contact number for someone out of
state who knows where you are. Offer assistance to an elderly or disabled family member or neighbor
who may be alone and need help during an emergency. Make plans ahead of time and practice them.

Speak with your insurance agent now about flood insurance and look over your homeowner's policy.
Every state is at risk for flooding and Katrina or Rita survivors already know homeowners insurance
doesn't cover flood damage. To learn more about your risk and flood insurance, visit
 
www.floodsmart.gov/.

FEMA also suggests getting involved by contacting your local Citizen Corps Council to learn what your
community is doing to prepare for hurricane season, and learn how you can help. Training in basic
emergency response and volunteer opportunities to assist first responders is available through the
Councils and Citizen Corps Partner Programs.

To find a local Citizen Corps Council or to learn more about Citizen Corps' Partner Programs, visit
www.citizencorps.gov/. For more hurricane preparedness information, visit FEMA's website at
www.fema.gov/

RELATED: "Many East, Gulf Coast Residents Won't Evacuate For A Major Hurricane"
Hurricane Katrina (NOAA photo)
"It's About More Than Just A Hurricane!"
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FEMA Trailers in St. Bernard, LA 12-2007  (katrina connection photo)
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