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Vitter Urges Louisiana to Get Prepared

Location: Washington, DC

Vitter urges Louisiana to get prepared

(Washington, D.C.) -U.S. Rep. David Vitter today urged Louisiana residents to take part in National Preparedness Month and prepare themselves and their families for any possible emergencies.

"With Hurricane Ivan heading for the Gulf of Mexico, it's important for families to make a plan and get prepared now. The more we prepare in advance, the calmer things will be during uncertain times," said Vitter. "All of Louisiana can benefit from greater readiness. Being in the midst of hurricane season highlights that need. While the storms have steered clear of our region so far, we won't always be that fortunate."

Hurricanes create the opportunity for multiple hazards to an area through high winds, storm surges, tornados and flooding. Because disasters can strike quickly and without warning, Vitter recommended that families review the preparation and safety tips from the Red Cross (listed below) to get ready for a hurricane or other unexpected emergencies.

Prepare a family evacuation and communications plan

• Talk with your family about disasters that can happen where you live and why you need to prepare for these events.
• Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places - a friend's home in another town, a motel or a shelter.
• Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
• Listen to local radio or television stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
• Assemble a disaster supplies kit to take with you when evacuating.

Assemble a disaster supplies kit

• First aid kit and essential medications, including prescription medicines.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person.
• Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
• Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (You'll need a professional to turn them back on.)
• Car keys and maps.
• Documents, including driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

When a hurricane watch or warning is issued

• Listen to local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
• Bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
• Cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
• Fill your car's gas tank.
• Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
• Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.
• If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
• Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
• Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
• Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

"Unfortunately, Louisiana has seen more than its share of hurricanes throughout the years, but the true spirit of generosity and compassion always shines through during such times," said Vitter. "With our families creating plans and getting prepared ahead of time, we can serve others in our communities during the unexpected."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the American Red Cross and more than 80 other organizations formed the National Preparedness Month coalition to highlight the importance of individual emergency preparedness. The Red Cross offers a "Tip of the Day" on its Web site,, to guide families and businesses as they create preparedness plans.

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