I know what you're thinking. You've lived in south Louisiana your entire life and go through hurricane season every year. Of course, you're ready... but are you really?
Hurricanes are a fact of life in our part of the world, which means there’s no excuse for not being prepared for the possibility of a storm strike every season.
There’s a lot to be proud of here in Baton Rouge, from great Southern cooking to the Fighting Tigers. You can do your part to protect our city by being “Red Stick Ready” for whatever the weather brings.
Below we take a careful look at what you can do ahead of time to ensure you’re able to stay safe and limit damage to your property should a major storm come our way.
Work through the following steps to help ensure you’re storm-ready at the start of hurricane season. For more information on storm preparedness, check Baton Rouge’s Red Stick Ready site or download Louisiana’s detailed emergency prep guide.
Early evacuation is the best option for you and your family. Much of Baton Rouge falls within Louisiana’s Phase III evacuation zone, which recommends leaving at least 30 hours before the onset of tropical, storm-force winds.
Know the best escape routes out of your area when storms threaten. For Baton Rouge, our main evacuation route is along Route 61 towards Mississippi. Stick with major routes and note the locations of gas stations, motels, and emergency shelters.
If you or a family member have a disability, remember to plan for suitable transport and accommodation. If you have pets, you’ll need travel crates and food as well as the locations of pet-friendly motels or emergency shelters.
Whether you’re leaving or are unable to evacuate, you should have the supplies you need packed in an emergency kit. Here are some essential items to include:
The hours before the arrival of a major storm is no time to be undertaking major repairs on your home. In advance of hurricane season, make sure your home is up to code and ready to withstand powerful winds and strong rains. Reinforce gutters and have the supplies on hand to secure boats, patio furniture, and other objects.
The start of hurricane season is also a good time to install storm shutters, or at least to buy the plywood you will need to cover windows in the event of a storm. Preparing now will make it easier to protect your property from a storm whether you leave or shelter in place.
Put in plans in place to stay in touch with family during potentially chaotic situations. Decide on a check-in system and at least two rendezvous points in case you become separated.
Be sure to download the Red Stick Ready app on your mobile phones to stay informed. Also, consider investing in two-way radios or satellite-capable cell phones so you can continue to communicate if cellular networks are down.
It’s critical that you have access to a reliable vehicle in the event of an evacuation. Your car must be insured and the engine, tires, and brakes must be in good condition.
Community support can become critical in the event of a disaster. Get to know your neighbors and discuss hurricane preparation plans with them. Arrange a check-in system in the event of a storm.
Be sure to include elderly or disabled family members or neighbors in the plans.
Good information is critical during a potentially catastrophic event like a hurricane. Sign up for local weather alerts and notifications from local authorities like your Sheriff and fire department as well as state and federal emergency management.
A small wind-up radio can be critical for keeping current with developments if power or mobile data networks are disrupted.
While practical steps to prepare for a hurricane are essential, making sure that your finances are in order can bring peace of mind during the chaos of a major storm and make post-hurricane cleanup and recovery easier. Here are some things to consider:
Keep crucial financial documents in a secure, waterproof, and fireproof container. Important documents include original forms of identity, immigration paperwork, insurance policies, house deeds, and bank account information, as examples. You might also want to scan these documents and upload them to a secure cloud service.
An emergency fund is always a good idea, but having the equivalent of at least three months’ expenses in a savings or money market account can help provide for critical needs like food, temporary accommodation, and transportation in the wake of serious storm damage.
While you might be able to use credit cards to cover these needs, having an emergency fund in place makes it less likely you will need to go into debt or spend long-term savings as you rebuild after a major hurricane strikes.
The start of hurricane season is also a great time for an insurance check-up. Go through your insurance policies to make sure your home, cars, and other property are adequately insured against loss and damage.
Additionally, keep updated copies of your policies stored safely. These will be crucial to making an insurance claim against storm damage to your home or property.
Being prepared financially is a key part of being ready for a major storm. If you need help with budgeting for your emergency fund, learning how to open a money market account, or simply getting your finances in better order—Baton Rouge Telco is here to help.
Our free personalized financial education program, Thrive, is designed to put our members on the path to a healthier, more sustainable financial future.
Take the time to get organized and improve your money skills now. You’ll be better prepared for the future, no matter what it brings.
Click below to learn more about how Baton Rouge Telco’s financial wellness program can put you on the path to success.