City of New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness




A Message from Mayor Marc H. Morial :

Dear Parish Residents,

The safety and well-being of the citizens of New Orleans is my greatest priority. For this reason, our Office of Emergency Preparedness has prepared this Guide to help individuals during times of natural or man-made disaster. The information contained is designed to help everyone deal with these emergencies in an effective and sucessful manner. Knowledge is power and knowing what to do during an emergency can be lifesaving.Our City, due to its central gulf location, is one of the most vulnerable in America to the furies of a hurricane. Heavy rains, because of our topography, can and do cause severe flooding. Our City?s place as one of the busiest rail centers and second busiest ports exposes us to potentially numerous hazardous materials incidents. All of these factors combine to make an effective Citizen?s Guide a necessity. This, our second annual update, serves that purpose. But, like any good tool, it is useless unless read and acted upon. Its place is not on a shelf gathering dust, but in an easily accessible family emergency kit where it can be used.The Guide?s purpose is to:1. Inform citizens of the hazards they face.2. Provide guidance in preparing their own individual emergency plan..3. Advise them of the proper procedure needed to be followed in the event of an emergency.In reviewing its contents, the reader should pay particular attention to the section on Evacuation. Knowing the routes of egress during situations such as hurricanes, can avoid needless injury and loss of life. It is my fervent hope that the information contained in the Guide will never have to be used; however, being ready for an emergency before it occurs, through adequate preparation and planning, is the first step in surviving a disaster. Preparedness must begin with the individual and be carried over to the family, and then into the community in order to thwart any incident or disaster that may be visited upon us. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness (504)565-7200 located in City Hall Room 9E06, 1300 Perdido St., New Orleans, LA. 70112
Marc H. Morial


The Office of Emergency Preparedness is responsible for the response and coordination of those actions needed to protect the lives and property of its citizens from natural or man-made disasters as well as emergency planning for the City of New Orleans. Our primary responsibility is to advise the Mayor, the City Council and Chief Administrative Officer regarding emergency preparedness activities and operations.We coordinate all city departments and allied state and federal agencies which respond to city-wide disasters and emergencies through the development and constant updating of an integrated multi-hazard plan. All requests for federal disaster assistance and federal funding subsequent to disaster declarations are also made through this office.Our authority is defined by the Louisiana Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act of 1993, Chapter 6 Section 709, Paragraph B, ?Each parish shall maintain a Disaster Agency which, except as otherwise provided under this act, has jurisdiction over and serves the entire parish?.


A hurricane is a cyclone (low pressure system) developing in the tropics with a minimum wind speed of 74 miles per hour. The wind rotates in counterclockwise direction around the center of the storm, called the "eye", where the winds are nearly calm. The wind in an intense hurricane may exceed 150 mph with gusts above 200 mph just outside of the storm's center. Hurricane force winds may extend out 100 miles from the center with gale force winds (39 mph or higher) extending outward 250 miles. Bands of very intense thunderstorms spiral outward from the eye of the hurricane for several hundred miles producing torrential rain, and occasionally spawning tornadoes when they begin moving over land.

Hurricane force winds, in some cases gusting to nearly 200 mph, can cause widespread and significant damage to many buildings. Wind gusts to nearly 150 mph destroyed many houses in South Dade County, Florida, when Hurricane Andrew moved onshore in August of 1992. Hurricane force winds can also create a deadly barrage from roofing material, metal siding, and outdoor furniture. Hurricane winds can also be damaging well inland, as evidenced in 1988, when wind gusts of 100 mph were recorded in Charlotte, N.C., as Hurricane Hugo moved inland. These strong winds toppled many trees, which fell into houses and disrupted electrical services. The rules for seeking safety from the hurricane's destructive winds are similar to those for tornado safety. These include moving to a small interior room on the lowest floor of a well- constructed house or building, which is safe from storm surge flooding.

Rainfall totals of 10 inches or more are not uncommon when a tropical storm or hurricane moves ashore. These heavy rains can complicate drainage problems in areas experiencing storm surge flooding. If rainfall amounts of this magnitude occur over north or central Louisiana, destructive flash flooding and river flooding can occur. In 1989, Tropical Storm Allison produced 15 to 25 inches of rain over central and northwest Louisiana causing widespread flooding. This resulted in 3 deaths and 250 million dollars in property damage. In June of 1986, rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Bonnie caused extensive flash flooding in northwest Louisiana. Over 380 homes and 20 businesses suffered damage in Shreveport.

A tropical storm or hurricane moving inland occasionally produces destructive tornadoes. The community of Laplace was struck by a deadly tornado in August of 1992 when Hurricane Andrew was moving toward land. There were 2 fatalities and 32 injuries associated with this tornado. In 1964, a thunderstorm in a rain band spiraling outward from Hurricane Hilda, produced a violent tornado which touched down in Lafourche Parish killing 22 persons and injuring 164.

STORM SURGE: Hurricanes? Big Killer
Hurricanes are usually described in terms of their wind speeds, but flooding caused by the high water a storm brings, kills many more people than wind. Flooding, also is responsible for much of the damage, especially within a few hundred yards of the shoreline. Boats ripped from their moorings, utility poles, parts of destroyed buildings, and other debris crashing in the waves atop hurricane surge, often destroy buildings that stood up to the wind. Even without the weight of debris, water is a powerfully destructive force. A cubic foot of sea water weighs 64 pounds.

Water does more than batter, it scours away the sand of beaches and dunes and can also have an inpact on barrier islands. High water and pounding waves carry away the sand under sea walls, buildings, and roads. As the water begins rising sometimes hours in advance of the storm, it erodes the beach, the dunes and undercuts buildings behind the beach.

Storm surge isn?t a killer only along beaches facing the ocean; water is also pushed into bays and rivers. As the surge of water squeezes up a narrowing bay or river, it rises even higher.

What happens when the surge comes ashore.....
The ultimate height of the ?storm tide? is a combination of the astronomical tide and the storm surge. The surge normally does not arrive as a ?wall of water,? but more like a quick rise in the tide to extremely high levels.

A 2-foot normal high tide plus a 10-foot storm surge will push the water 12 feet above mean sea level. A surge?s worst effect is to bring storm-whipped waves far inland; the battering of the waves causes far more damage than high water alone.

Hurricane protection levees have been built in many coastal communities, especially the New Orleans area, to protect life and property from storm surge. While these levees do a very good job in protecting communities during minimal hurricanes, sophisticated computer modeling of storm surge effects indicate most levees in southeast Louisiana would be overtopped from the storm surge generated by a direct strike by a major hurricane. The result would be widespread flooding.

HURRICANE SEASON IS : June 1 - November 30

Hurricanes have been classified into five categories according to their central pressure, wind speed, and storm surge. A category one hurricane is the weakest and a category five hurricane the strongest. By using a disaster potential scale, it is easy to compare different hurricanes and communicate to the public, the hazards associated with an approaching hurricane.
PRESSURE (Millibars)
1. 980 or more
 74- 95
4 -5
 Danny 1985
2. 965 - 979
 96 - 110
 6 - 8
Flossy 1956
3. 945 - 964
 111 - 130
 9 - 12
 Andrew 1992
4. 920 -944
 131 - 155
 12 - 18
 Audrey 1957
5.    < 920
  > 155
 Camille 1969


No real damage by wind is caused to buildings. Some damage is done to poorly constructed signs. Some damage primarily occurs to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, trees, and foliage. Low lying roads are inundated by storm surge. Minor pier damage occurs.

Roofing, doors and windows ofhomes and businesses are damaged by winds. Considerable wind damage is done tomobile homes and vegetation. Low lying roads are inundated by storm surge. Considerable damage is done by storm surge and wave action to piers. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break their moorings.

Winds cause structural damage to homes and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failure. Mobile homes are destroyed. Storm surge flooding destroys many smaller buildings while large buildings are damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 10 feet above mean sea level is flooded.

More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof failure on homes occur. Major damage is caused to lower floors of homes and businesses from storm surge flooding. Terrain continuously lower than 15 feet above mean sea level is flooded.

There is complete roof failure of many homes and businesses as well as complete building failure of many small structures. Major storm surge flooding to lower floors of buildings located less than 20 feet above mean sea level occurs.

In 1953, the United States abandoned its three year old plan to name storms by the phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie), when a new international phonetic alphabet was introduced. That year, this nation's weather service began using female names for storms. By using names, confusion is reduced when exchanging information about the storms, especially when two storms are occurring at the same time. Men's names were included in the list for the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico tropical storms and hurricanes for the first time in 1979. If a hurricane becomes strong and causes significant damage, the name is retired from the list never to be used again; such as Audrey, Betsy, Camille, Hugo, and Andrew. Hurricanes are the only natural disasters with their own names; each evokes its particular image of disaster. Names seem appropriate because we come to know hurricanes before they strike, unlike earthquakes, which hit without warning, or tornadoes, which quickly come and go with only a few minutes warning. Hurricanes are special. You can make a good argument that they are the earth?s most awesome storms.


The National Hurricane Center in Miami Florida, issues Advisories for all tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea. Each Advisory gives the name of the storm, the center or "eye" position, current intensity and forecasted movement of the storm. These Advisories are issued every six hours until it nears land. Then Intermediate Advisories are issued every two to three hours.

The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Slidell and the National Weather Service Office in Lake Charles issue Local Action Statements when a tropical storm or hurricane threatens the Louisiana coast. These statements supplement the Advisories from the National Hurricane Center. They give detailed information on current and expected weather, tide conditions for the local area, and advice on preparedness measures local residents should be taking. A Local Action Statement is be issued every three to four hours, or more frequently when the storm approaches the coast, or if important information becomes available.

Tropical Disturbance
Organized thunderstorm activity in the tropics and subtropics, not associated with a front, maintaining its identity for 24 hours or more.
Tropical Depression
A tropicallow pressure system in which the maximum sustained wind is 33 knots (38 mph) or less.
Tropical Storm
A tropical low pressure system in which the maximum surface wind ranges from 34 to 63 knots (39 to 73 mph).
A tropical low pressure system in which the maximum surface wind range is 74 mph or greater.

Tropical Storm Watch
Issued when a tropical storm or tropical storm conditions will pose a threat to coastal areas within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch will not be issued if the system is forecast to attain tropical storm strength.
Tropical Storm Warning
Issued when tropical storm conditions with sustained wind speeds of 39 to 73 mph are expected in the coastal areas within 24 hours.
Hurricane Watch
Issued for a coastal area when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24 to 36 hours.
Hurricane Warnings
Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in the coastal areas within 24 hours. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 mph or higher, and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Action for protection of life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued. It should be noted that some additional action may be necessary, depending on the weather system, prior to a warning being issued.

During the hurricane season you should have on hand a list of items including a supply of non-perishable foods, bottled water, first aid kit, flashlight, fire extinguisher, battery powered commercial radio, and NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries. If a hurricane threatens, store water in a clean bathtub, jugs, or pails, as the water system may become inoperative or contaminated (One gallon per person per day).

If you live near the coast, along coastal bayous, or tidal lakes prone to flooding, make sure you have a safe evacuation route planned well in advance. Be prepared to leave early. Persons living in mobile homes in coastal areas should also plan on evacuating, since mobile homes are extremely vulnerable to strong wind gusts associated with hurricanes. Even if you live behind hurricane protection levees, you may be asked to evacuate, as most levees can be overtopped by the storm surge generated from a powerful hurricane's direct strike.

If you are not in danger of storm surge flooding, and decide not to evacuate, you still are vulnerable to wind related damage from hurricanes. The safest places of shelter from destructive winds and tornadoes are small interior rooms on the lowest floor of a well constructed house or building, which is safe from storm surge.

Residents of Orleans Parish who are vulnerable to flooding from heavy rainfall should check their homeowners insurance policies, as most homeowner policies do not cover flood losses. Check into the availability of flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program by contacting your local insurance agent.

General Evacuation Guidelines for disasters apply to both natural (hurricane, flood, thunderstorm, tornado) and man-made (chemical and fire). If you are told to EVACUATE you should move to a place designated by public officials.

Follow these steps:

The Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Area presents a difficult evacuation problem due to the large population and a limited road system which is susceptible to flooding. The public is encouraged to act in their best interest and voluntarily evacuate the high risk areas (outside the levee system) before a recommended evacuation.

If you plan to evacuate, leave as early as possible - before hurricane gale force winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge cause road closing. Leaving early may also help you to avoid massive traffic jams encountered late in an evacuation effort. Listen to the radio and/or television for storm reports and current updates.

An evacuation notice will be issued when a hurricane is forecast to present a danger to Orleans Parish. The timing of this notice will depend on the probability of landfall in this area, and the severity and forward speed of the storm.

The Orleans Parish Evacuation Plan has three phases:


This phase will concentrate on people who are most vulnerable to a hurricane and the effects of both water and wind. It is directed at offshore workers, persons on coastal islands or in wetlands, persons aboard boats, and those living in mobile homes and recreational vehicles. No special traffic control or transportation measures will be implemented.

During the Precautionary Phase of Evacuation:

1. A State of Emergency may be declared.
2. The City of New Orleans Emergency Operating Center (EOC) will be activated.
3. Special facilities, including nursing homes, begin preparation for possible evacuation.
4. Staging areas and/or shelters will be announced.
5. Citizens implement their personal evacuation plan at their discretion.

This phase is enacted when a storm has a high probability of causing a significant threat to people living in the areas at risk. Government authorities will recommend that persons at risk evacuate. Staging areas will be designated for persons needing transportation.


1. If you live outside of levee protection.
2. If you live in a mobile home or recreational vehicle.
3. If you live in a low-lying inland area or on the coast.

During the Recommended Phase of Evacuation:

1. The City of New Orleans Emergency Operating Center (EOC) is staffed for 24-hour operation.
2. Local transportation will be mobilized to assist persons who lack transportation.
3. Bus routes and locations of staging areas for those needing transportation to shelters in or out of the Parish, will be announced via radio and television.
4. Relatives and neighbors should help family and friends who need transportation and
other assistance.

Never take any hurricane lightly; everyone is especially at risk if a hurricane is category 3 (slow moving storm) or 4 and 5 (slow or fast moving storm).

This is the final, most serious phase of evacuation. Authorities will put maximum emphasis on encouraging evacuation and limiting entry into the risk area. The State Office of Emergency Preparedness, State Police, State Department of Transportation and The Louisiana National Guard will assume coordination and responsibility for traffic control on all major evacuation routes. Because of deteriorating weather conditions, at some point, evacuation routes will be closed and the remaining people at risk will be directed to a last resort refuge.

During the Mandatory Phase of Evacuation:
1. Persons living in designated evacuation zones will be instructed to leave.
2. Traffic controls will be imposed to direct persons to designated evacuation routes.
3. Emergency Alerting System(EAS) radio stations 870 AM & 101.9 FM and news     media will issue evacuation information.

Evacuation Considerations to Keep in Mind:
1. Has your area been advised to evacuate by local and/or state officials via radio and
2. Will you stay with a friend or relative, or at a hotel or motel out of the risk area?
3. Will you go to a shelter out of the risk area?

Prepare to evacuate if advised to do so by officials through Radio or Television.


Where will your family be when disaster strikes?
They could be anywhere... at work, at school, or in the car.

How will you find each other?
Will you know if your children are safe?

Preparedness must begin with the individual!!!!!

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Families can, and do, cope with disaster by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Follow the four(4) steps to safety to create your family's disaster plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility.


1. Find Out What Could Happen to You:
Contact your local Office of Emergency Preparedness and American Red Cross chapter. Be prepared to take notes:
a. Ask what types of disaster are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each.
b. Ask about animal care after disaster. Animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
c. Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.
d. Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center, and other places where your family spends time.

2. Create a Disaster Plan:
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.
a. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
b. Pick two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know that location (the address and phone number.)
c. Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact". After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact person's phone number.
d. Discuss what do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.

3. Complete This Checklist:

"Call our Emergency Preparedness Office"

a. Post emergency telephone numbers near phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)
b. Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) number for emergency help.
c. Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
d. Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
e. Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
f. Learn your community evacuation routes.
g. Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
h. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
i. Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.


a. Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
b. Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.

4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan:

a. Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do.
b. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills.
c. Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months.
d. Test and recharge your fire extinguisher or extinguishers according to manufacturer's instructions.
e. Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Assemble the supplies you might need. Store them in an easy-to-carry container.

- A supply of water for drinking and cooking(One gallon per person per day). Stored in sealed, unbreakable containers.
- A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food, and a non-electric can opener.
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
- Blankets or sleeping bags (1 per person).
- A first aid kit and prescription medications.
- An extra pair of eyeglasses, contact lens supplies.
- A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
- Credit cards and cash in a water proof container.
- An extra set of car keys.
- A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members, such as extra diapers, hearing aids, and medical certification.
- Books, magazines, cards, toys and games.
- Important documents in water-proof containers. (Insurance Policies)
- Photographs or videotapes of personal property as well as an up-to-dateinventory of items (include serial numbers).
- Hygiene supplies.
- Shovel, axe and other useful tools.
- Fire extinguisher.

You should have two first aid kits; one for your home, the other for your car, if you have one. An emergency first aid kit should include:

- Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- 2-inch & 3-inch sterile gauze pads
- Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
- Triangular bandages
- 2-inch & 3-inch sterile roll bandages
- Scissors
- Tweezers
- Needle
- Safety razor blade
- Bar of soap
- Moistened towelettes
- Antiseptic spray
- Thermometer
- Tongue blades and wooden applicator sticks
- Tube petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Safety pins in assorted sizes
- Cleansing agent/soap
- Latex gloves

Non-Prescription Drugs such as:
- Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Antacid (for stomach upset)
- Emetic (use to induce vomiting if advised by Poison Control Center)
- Laxative
- Eye Wash
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antiseptic or hydrogen peroxide
- Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Keep the following items in one place, so you can get to them easily:

- A battery-operated radio (with extra batteries)
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Paper plates and utensils, including a bottle and can opener
- Candles and matches (in a water proof container) or an oil or kerosene lantern
- Toilet articles and sanitary needs.

If the Electricity Goes Off.....
First, use perishable food and foods from the refrigerator. Then use foods from the freezer. To minimize the number of times you open the freezer door, post a list of the freezer contents on the door. In a well-filled, well-insulated freezer, foods will usually still have ice crystals in their center, (meaning the foods are safe to eat) for at least three days. Finally, begin to use nonperishable foods and staples.


It should be noted that should the need arise, hurricane refuges will be opened in certain areas of the city. Only minimal services will be provided at the locations. Bring your own food, water and bedding. Eat a full meal before arriving.

Because of the eratic nature of a storm, refuge locations will not be pre-published. Tune in to local radio and television for announcements of which locations will be opened.

Reception areas (shelters) will remain the same as in the past. Evacuation centers (shelters) will be open according to the direction and seriousness of the emergency.


1. Remain in shelter until informed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.

2. Keep tuned to your local radio or television station for advice and instructions from your local government on:
- Where to go to obtain necessary medical care in your area.
- Where to go for necessary emergency assistance for housing, clothing, and food.
- Ways to help you and your community recover from the emergency.

3. Stay out of disaster areas. Sight-seeing interferes with essential rescue and recovery work, and may be dangerous as well.

4. Drive carefully along debris-filled streets. Roads may be undermined and could collapse under the weight of a car.

5. Avoid loose or dangling wires, and report them immediately to your power company or to the local police or fire department.

6. Report broken sewer or water mains.

7. Prevent fires. Because of decreased water pressure fire fighting becomes difficult.

8. Check refrigerated food for spoilage if power has been off during the storm.

Hurricanes moving inland can cause severe flooding. Stay away from levees, river banks, and streams until all potential flooding is passed. Local authorities will announce when it is safe to return to your home. Stay tuned to local stations for current information.

When you get home:
Look for visible structural damage before you go inside. Watch for loose or dangling electrical power lines and broken sewer lines.


"The Awesome Power"

Avoid being caught in a situation like this!!!!!

What YOU can do:
- Know the flood risk and elevation above flood stage. If danger of flooding exists, be prepared to move to a place of safety. Know your evacuation routes.
- Keep your automobile fueled; if electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps for several days.
- Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers. Water service may be interrupted, or your water source contaminated.
- Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration; electric power may be interrupted.
- Keep first aid supplies on hand.
- Keep a NOAA Weather Radio, a battery-powered portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order.
- Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.

Assist hospitals and other operations which are critically affected by power failure by arranging for auxiliary power supplies.

River and rainfall readings are valuable to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) and the National Weather Service (NWS) in assessing flood conditions and taking appropriate actions. Advanced warning provided by early detection is critical to saving lives. Automatic flood detection is critical to saving lives. Automatic flood detection systems are available commercially for flood-prone communities. Contact your local NWS Office or (Emergency Preparedness Office) for futher information on "Local Flood Warning Systems."

STAY INFORMED ABOUT THE STORM by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, Commercial Radio or Television for the latest FLASH FLOOD and FLOOD WATCHES, WARNINGS, and ADVISORIES.

Flash Flood Watch or Flood Watch:
Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH AREA - BE ALERT. Move to higher ground. A flash flood could occur without warning. Listen to radio or television for additional information.

Flash Flood or Flood Warning:
Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. Take necessary precautions at once. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Urban and Small Stream Advisory:
Flooding of canals, small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as; railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occuring.

Flash Flood Warning or Flood Statement:
Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.

The rule for being safe in a flooding situation is simple:

When a flash flood WATCH is issued - Be alert to the signs of flash flooding and be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.

When a flash flood WARNING is issued for your area, or the moment you realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. YOU MAY HAVE ONLY SECONDS!!!!!

- Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, etc.
- Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams or canals.
- If driving, be aware that the road bed may not be intact under flood waters. Turn around and go another way. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.
- If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf your vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Remember, it's better to be wet than dead!!!!!
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and canals, particularly during threatening weather.

- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
- Continue monitoring NOAA Weather Radio, television, or emergency alert station for information.

- Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
- If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, STOP! Turn around and go another way.
- Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
- Children should NEVER play around high water, storm drains, or drainage canals.

- If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
- Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.
- Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital. Food, clothing, shelter, and first aid may be available from the Red Cross and other volunteer groups.
- Do not visit disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
- Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
- Use flashlights, not lanterns, torches, or matches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
- Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.

Contact your insurance agent:
- Take photos or videotape of your home and belongings.
- Separate damaged and undamaged belongings.
- Locate your financial records.
- Keep detailed records of cleanup cost.

Nature's Most Violent Storms

- A tornado watch means tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, or both, are possible. Stay tuned to radio and television reports in your area.
- A tornado warning means you should take shelter immediately; a tornado has been sighted.

A strong, rotating column of air extending from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud to the ground.
Funnel Cloud:
A rotating column of air extending from a cloud, but not reaching the ground.
Severe Thunderstorm:
A thunderstorm with winds 58 mph or faster, or hailstones three-quarters of an inch or larger in diameter.

1. Know the locations of designated shelter areas in public facilities; such as schools, public buildings, and shopping centers.
2. Have emergency supplies on hand.
3. Be sure everyone in your household knows in advance where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning.
4. If you live in a single-family house in a tornado-prone area, reinforce an interior room to use as a shelter, the basement, storm cellar, or a closet on the lower level of your house.
5. Make an inventory of your household furnishings and other possessions. Supplement that with a written inventory with photographs. Keep inventories and photos in a safe deposit box or some other safe place away from the premises.

1. Whenever severe thunderstorms are in your area, listen to radio and television newscasts for the latest information and instructions.
2. Watch the horizon. If you see any revolving, funnel-shaped clouds, report them immediately by telephone to your local police department or sheriff's office, or dial 911. Remember that tornadoes can develop rapidly.

When a tornado has been sighted, stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Protect your head from falling objects or flying debris. Take cover immediately, wherever you are: In a house or small building, go to the basement. If there is no basement, go to an interior part of the structure on the lower level (closets, interior hallways). In either case, get under something sturdy (such as a heavy table) and stay there until the danger has passed.

Safety Rules for You and Your Family!!!!!
Tornadoes are nature's most violent, and erratic storms. A tornado can travel for miles along the ground, lift, and suddenly change direction and strike again. There is little you can do to protect your home or workplace from the strength of tornado winds, but there are actions you can take to better protect yourself and your family.

One basic rule to follow wherever you are is AVOID WINDOWS. An exploding window can injure or kill. Don't take the time to open windows; get to shelter immediately.

The Underrated Killers!!!!!

Before the Storm.....
- Know the parish in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a parish basis.
- Check the weather forecast before leaving for extended periods outdoors.
- Watch for signs of approaching storms.
- If a storm is approaching, keep a NOAA Weather Radio or AM/FM radio with you.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent. This is your best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
- Check on those who have trouble taking shelter, if severe weather threatens.

- Remember: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately!
- Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or convertible automobiles.
- If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep windows up.
- Get out of boats and away from water.
- Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Use the telephone ONLY in an emergency.
- Do not take a bath or shower.
- Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
- Get to higher ground if flash flooding or flooding is possible. Once flooding begins, abandon cars and climb to higher ground. Do not attempt to drive to safety. Note: Most flash flood deaths occur in automobiles.

- Find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
- If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
- If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and minimize your contact with the ground.
- If you are boating or swimming, get to land and find shelter immediately!

Severe Thunderstorm Watch:
Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are most likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to know when warnings are issued. Watches are intended to heighten public awareness and should not be confused with warnings.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning:
Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property for those in the path of the storm.

Also.....listen for Tornado Watch or Warning and Flash Flood Watch or Warning.


The National Weather Service continuously broadcasts updated weather warnings and forecasts that can be received by NOAA Weather Radios, which are sold in many stores. The average range is 40 miles, depending on topography. Your National Weather Service recommends purchasing a radio that has both a battery backup and a tone alert feature that automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

- Stand near trees, poles, overhead wire or water.
- Touch metal objects like bikes, golf clubs or fences.
- Plug in electrical equipment such as hair dryers or razors.
- Use the telephone except for emergencies.


Many Americans lose their lives every year as a result of fire. Many fire related deaths can be prevented. The way to survive a fire is to get out quickly and stay out. It is a simple strategy, but it does save lives. Make the most of it, plan ahead, NOW.

The majority of fatal home fires happen while people are sleeping. Many victims die without ever waking up. You need time on your side. Smoke detectors are inexpensive, and they can save your family. Place the smoke detector outside of each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home.

Make your escape plans now. "Have a fire plan for your family".
With a fire burning in your home, there is little time to waste. You may be confronted by blinding smoke and searing heat. If you plan and practice now, your family will know what to do in a real emergency.

Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence, show the locations of doors, windows, stairways, large furniture. Plan two ways out of every room. In case of fire, don't stop for anything. Get out and stay out. Call the Fire Department from a neighbor's phone. If you encounter smoke or flames on your way out, turn around and use your alternate exit. Choose a meeting place outside, preferably at the front of your home where the fire department will arrive.

If you must escape through an area filled with smoke, GET DOWN ON YOUR HANDS and KNEES and CRAWL TO THE EXIT. The best air will be 12 to 24 inches off the floor. If your hair or clothing is accidentally ignited STOP, DROP, and ROLL.

If you find yourself trapped:
- Close doors between you and the fire.
- Stuff the cracks around doors and cover vents to keep the smoke out.
- Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a sheet or other light colored cloth.
- If you have a phone, use it to notify the fire department of your exact location.

Any soldier will tell you that your best defense is to understand your enemy. In your war against fire, this understanding begins with the knowledge of these three things:

1. How fires start in the home.
2. How fires and the dangerous products of combustion spread through the house.
3. The speed with which this happens.



If a hurricane is threatening the area where your business is located, take the following steps:

- Photograph your business establishment, inside and out, from all angles, to help substantiate any insurance claims later.

- Assemble papers such as insurance policies, checkbooks and financial records, and pack them in waterproof containers.

- Arrange to pay your employees, preferably in cash, as it may be some time before banking institutions reopen after a hurricane.

- Clear out areas with extensive glass frontage, as much as possible. If you have shutters, use them. Otherwise, board up windows and glass doors.

- Remove outdoor hanging signs.

- Bring inside or secure any objects that might become airborne and cause damage in strong winds.

- Secure and tape showcases, turning the glass side toward an inside wall, where possible.

- Store as much merchandise as high off the floor as possible, especially goods that could be in short supply after a storm.

- Move merchandise that cannot be stored away from windows and glass skylights, and cover it with tarpaulins or heavy plastic.

- Secure generators, along with the fuel needed for their operation.

- Secure all goods in warehouses above the water level, and place sandbags in spaces where water could enter. Remove lower drawers from file cabinets, put them in plastic trash bags and store them on top of the cabinets.

- Turn off gas, water heater, stoves, pilot lights and other burners.

The above precautions will not only help to save your business, but also the lives and property of others.


Planning, preparation and timely action are the keys to saving lives, preventing injury, and reducing property damage to pleasure boats and live-aboard vessels in a hurricane.

Each boat owner needs a plan specific to the vessel, for where it is normally kept and for where it might be moved for protection.

See that your vessel is in sound condition. Check out the hull, deck hardware, rigging, ground tackle, machinery and electronics; be sure batteries are charged, bilge pumps are operable, and all equipment is secured. Absentee owners should arrange for a haulout or supervised inspection. Inspect primary cleats, chocks, winches, bitts and bollards. Be sure they have substantial backplates and adequate-size stainless steel bolts.

Acquire any needed emergency gear such as extra mooring lines, screw anchors, fenders, fender boards, chafing gear and anchors. Identify hurricane holes and safe harbors in the area, assemble emergency equipment and supplies, come up with a refuge plan. Then practice your plan to see how much time and work is involved, and what aspects need to be revised.

Make sure your insurance coverage is current; read the policy thoroughly for information relative to the coverage, exclusions and your responsibilities as the vessel owner. Assemble your insurance policies, boat registration, a recent photograph of the vessel, gear inventory, marine or storage lease agreement and important telephone numbers: The Local Harbormaster, Coast Guard, National Weather Service, and Insurance Agent. Put them in a secure place off the boat.

Know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as those of the marina or storage facility, if you keep your boat tied up or in storage. Inventory items to be removed from the boat and items to leave aboard; keep copies on board and ashore. Mark valuable items for identification.

Monitor marine radio weather reports continuously. Identify the safest reachable haven and move your boat there at least 48 hours before a hurricane is expected to strike your area. Have written copies of your hurricane plan aboard and with associates on shore; be sure family members and crew read and understand it.

See that fuel tanks are full, fuel filters are clean, batteries are charged, bilges are clean, cockpit drains are clear, firefighting equipment works and lifesaving equipment is in good condition and readily accessible. Make anchoring or mooring provisions. Check the condition of existing mooring hardware and line. Ensure watertightness above and below the waterline by sealing hatches, windows and doors with duct tape if necessary, shutting seacocks and capping off or plugging unvalved through-hull fittings. Remove all equipment on deck that can be removed. Secure items such as tiller, wheel and boom.

Double all lines. The second set of lines should be a size larger that the regular ones. Rig crossing spring lines fore and aft. At a marina with strong pilings, attach lines high on them to allow for surge and install preventers so they cannot slip off the top. To prevent chafing, use double neoprene hose, or wrap lines at rough points with tape, rags or other protective material. Put out fenders and fender boards to guard against rubbing against pilings, pier and other vessels. If possible, occupy two slips, rather than one. Recheck the attachment of primary cleats, winches and chocks.

See that your batteries are fully charged to operate automatic bilge pumps for the duration of the storm. Consider backup batteries. Disconnect all devices that use electricity except bilge pumps.

Monitor marine radio reports continuously.

Prepare to have all aboard leave the vessel. Boat owners unwilling to do this must weigh the desire to stay aboard carefully. Of eight confirmed deaths in Hurricane Marilyn, at least seven were individuals who remained aboard boats.

Check the condition and security of the vessel as soon as it is safe to do so. If it has been damaged, take immediate action to save the vessel and/or equipment and prevent further loss or damage. This is a requirement of all marine insurance policies. Notify your insurance agent, as soon as you can.

Pickle the engine immediately and purge the boat of marine life and saltwater. Report any theft or vandalism loss or damage to law-enforcement authorities promptly; obtain a copy of the incident report or the report number. If salvage removal of the vessel is necessary and you must make arrangements yourself, read the salvage contract, and find out where your vessel is being taken and if security is to be provided.

A trailered boat presents an additional hazard in a hurricane. The boat can not only be severely damaged or destroyed, but can also cause additional damage to surrounding property. If at all possible move the boat and trailer to a safe area. If this is not possible, make sure the boat and trailer are moved into a garage or warehouse. At the very least, secure the boat and trailer in position.


Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to hurricane force winds. Do what you can to secure your home, and then take refuge with friends or relatives or at a public shelter. But before you leave, be sure to take the following suggested precautions:

- Wrap breakables, pack them in boxes and put the boxes on the floor.

- Remove and tape mirrors. Place lamps and mirrors in the bathtub or shower wrapped in blankets.

- Tape X's on the inside of windows.

- Disconnect electricity, sewer and water lines. Shut off propane tanks. Leave the tanks outside and anchor them securely.

- Store awnings, cabanas, folding furniture, trash cans and other such outdoor objects.

- Use over-the-top and frame ties to anchor the mobile home.

Public Advisory Reference Recreational/Special Use Vehicles

During emergency evacuation procedures boat trailers, horse trailers, motor homes, motorcycles and similar special use vehicles pose unique problems which can be avoided by advance planning and preparation. It is important to consider that these vehicles may not only be difficult to manuever in congested traffic conditions, but also that evacuation routes over bridges, elevated roadways and flat unbroken terrain will be subject to high winds that will make movement potentially hazardous. In fact, it is probable that after actual evacuation procedures are underway access to affected bridges and highways by these types of vehicles will be denied by public safety officials.

Consequently, the following tips are offered to citizens wishing to remove special use vehicles from harm's way. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive; citizens are directed to contact local or state police and emergency management offices for timely and detailed instructions pertinent to specific incidents. And, as always in emergency conditions, common sense and sound judgement must prevail.

- Identify in advance an adequate storage location at minimum safe distance.

- Learn alternate evacuation routes and utilize them early to avoid dangerous conditions, congestion and denied access to certain highways.

- Maintain and inspect vehicles regularly to ensure safe and reliable operation.

- Equip vehicles with serviceable emergency items such as spare tires, jacks, lug wrenches, lighting, flares, tie- downs, extra fuel, necessary tools, etc.

- Remember! Property considerations are secondary to the health and safety of human lives.

The key to success is advance planning, preparation and movement of property before an officially declared evacuation is underway.


Chemical emergencies can range from accidents in the home involving hazardous materials packaged for consumer use to major train derailments with large chemical releases. These accidents can cause serious injury to individuals, as well as cause major damage to our environment.

Recently, new federal laws have regulated the use and transportation of hazardous substances. These laws have made it easier for us to identify packages, containers, and vehicles containing chemicals.

If you have an accident in your home involving chemicals packaged for consumer use, you should leave immediately and call 9-1-1.

In the event you are informed by local authorities of a chemical problem, follow the advice and instructions of those officials.

If Asked to Evacuate:
- Leave immediately.

If Told to Shelter in Place:
- Go inside of your house or some other building.
- Stay inside until public officials indicate that you can leave safely.
- Close doors and windows.
- Tape cracks or openings for more protection.
- Turn off heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems.
- Do not use fireplaces: Close the damper, cover fireplace opening with plastic tape. If in use, put out the fire and close the damper.
- Listen to radio or television for further instructions.


- Check to see if your medication supply is up to date (Recommended a minimum 14 day supply). If necessary, call your doctor for extra refills.
- Make sure you have enough bandages, tubing, cremes, syringes, inhalers and any other equipment necessary for daily use.
- Make a list of all your medications and keep it with you.
- If you use an electric wheelchair, make sure the battery is fully charged or switch to a manual chair if possible.
- Make sure to pack any special garments that might be needed.

- Call your family or friends to help you early, so they become a part of your preparedness plan and you are a part of their plan.
- Make sure your transportation can accommodate a wheelchair if necessary and will be available.
- If you normally depend on a Social Service Agency, call them as soon as possible to find out what help they can provide before, during and after the storm.

Public Advocacy may be reached at: (504)565-7115 and
TTY/TDD(For The Deaf) at: (504)586-4475

If you have a friend or relative living in a nursing home, obtain a written plan from that facility that details their evacuation policy.

Specific refuges providing disabled access and toilet facilities will be announced. If possible, areas in buildings will be cordoned off as a "Special Needs Areas".

Again, only minimal supplies will be afforded. Oxygen and special medication will not be provided. Electricity and potable water cannot be guaranteed.

Our serious recommendation is that individuals evacuate the area completely. Staying in the risk area during the storm can be life-threatening.


It is important that you DO NOT plan on dropping your pet off at the local animal shelter in the event of a hurricane evacuation. For the safety of your pets the following advanced planning procedures are recommended:

- Have ample supplies of pet foods, kitty litter and all pet medications.
- Keep all of your pet's vaccinations current and store these records in an easily accessible place. Most boarding facilities require proof of vaccination.
- Make other arrangements for your pets in case you need to evacuate to a public emergency shelter. For reasons of health and safety, these shelters will not allow animals, except seeing eye and hearing dogs.
- Contact boarding kennels and animal clinics who board animals to determine if they will accept animals in the threat of a storm. Ask what will happen if they are forced to evacuate.
- Ask dependable friends and/or relatives who live further inland if they would be able to house you with your animals in the threat of a hurricane.
- Check with hotels and motels away from the coast to find out which ones accept pets.


- Bring your animals indoors well ahead of the storm. DO NOT, under any circumstances, leave animals tied up outside during a hurricane.
- Prepare a safe area in your home away from windows for your pets to stay during the storm. A bathroom is usually an ideal place.
- Leave several bowls of dry food and water on a high place. Canned or semi-moist foods have a tendency to spoil.
- Clear the area of all cleaners, medications, plants, vitamins and any other substance that will harm your pets if ingested.
- Provide access to high places, such as counter tops or tables, in case of flooding.


Hurricane Central's Storm '98

Herald Storm Tracking Map

National Hurricane Center

State Emergency Broadcast System Map

STATE EVACUATION ROUTES MAPHurricane Evacuation Routes - click for larger color map

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