Before The Hurricane
Pre-planning is the only way to ensure that you, your family, and your belongings survive a storm. Some of us in the military will have to stay on station for the duration of the storm. It is extremely important that your family knows what to do, where to go, and who to call when it is safe to come back. If you do not have to stay behind, I encourage you to evacuate as early as possible. The most dangerous place to be during a hurricane is in a car. Remember this rule of thumb when you evacuate: Go North. You must get as many miles of land between you and the storm as possible. Leaving New Orleans and driving to Gulfport is not a good idea. Hurricanes wobble east and west, and it is impossible to say where it will go ashore until it is too late to leave.
If you live near a river, beach, intercostals waterway, in a mobile home, or in a flood plain you should plan to leave.
If you live away from any large bodies of water, on high ground, and in a very sturdy house (designed to withstand hurricanes), you might consider staying depending on the category of storm.
If you stay, here are a few tips:
Condition IV - Hurricane is forecasted to strike within 72 hours.
Stock up on water and non-perishable foods which require little to no preparation. Water can be stored in clean bottles, jars, jugs, or in your bathtub after it has been cleaned.
Ensure you have plenty of paper plates, napkins, disposable diapers, and trash bags. Be aware that you may not be able to flush your toilet if the water level is high enough to flood the sewer system.
Have your propane gas tank filled for a grill or small camp stove. This will also give you the ability to boil water. Consider purchasing an extra propane tank.
Walk around your house and remove anything which can be blown away during a storm. This includes large items like garbage cans, lawn furniture, and barbecue grills.
Ensure you have flashlights, batteries, bulbs, candles, a fire extinguisher, and a battery operated radio.
Fill all vehicles to capacity and park in an open area away from large trees and poles.
If you own a portable generator, ensure it has fuel and is in good working order.
Have adequate medications and supplies on hand for at least two to four weeks.
Close shutters, blinds, and drapes. We do not recommend taping windows for several reasons. It is much too difficult to remove the tape for one, and tape will not stop anything from blowing through the window. We recommend that you use plywood on large glass surfaces over 25 square feet.
Move valuables upstairs, including photographs, wall hangings, and any other irreplaceable items. If you live in a one-story home, place these items on shelves inside closets.
Move furniture and electronic items away from doors and windows.
Have enough cash and credit cards on hand for additional supplies. Many stores will not take checks during this time.
Pack some clothes and essential supplies in a suitcase in the event evacuation becomes mandatory.
Ignore all rumors and follow instructions from official sources only.
Notify any family away from the immediate area as to what your plans are.
Condition III - Hurricane is forecasted to strike within 48 hours.
Continue to prepare as in condition IV.
Consult your physician for advice if you are under ongoing care (such as if you are pregnant or ill).
Monitor news and radio for up to date information. Check with your chain of command for specific orders. If you live off station and are ordered by Civil Authorities to evacuate, Inform your chain of command.
Review your supply list (enclosure 4) to ensure you have not forgotten anything.
Condition II - Hurricane is forecasted to strike within 24 hours.
Finalize all preparations from conditions IV and III.
Set your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest possible setting. Also pack empty space in your freezer and refrigerator with jugs of water. This will add to your water reserves and a full freezer will stay frozen longer.
The weather will begin to look bad at this point. Exercise extreme caution when outside. Lightning and sudden gusts of wind are very common.
Condition I - Hurricane to strike within 12 hours.
It becomes fairly certain where a storm will strike at this point, it is mainly a question of whether you will suffer a direct hit or glancing blow. Be very careful and do not go outside unless absolutely necessary.
Bring in all pets and put in a room with no windows if possible.
Close blinds and drapes and secure them at the bottom using duct tape or thumbtacks. Make sure all windows are tightly closed.
If you lose power, disconnect or turn off all appliances (especially the air conditioner). Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed except when absolutely necessary.
During The Hurricane
Keep a window or two open on the side of the house Opposite the direction the wind is blowing. This allows the internal and external pressures of your house to stabilize and helps prevent windows and the roof from blowing off. The pressure outside is much lower than normal. If all windows are closed, your house will, in effect, become pressurized. If you open windows on the side of the house where the wind is blowing, it will cause extensive wind damage.
Do not go outside. The eye of the storm will be very calm, but afterwards the winds will be from the opposite direction and many times they are stronger.
Listen to weather bulletins.
Ignore all rumors. Listen only to instructions from official agencies.
Shut off the gas supply if you smell gas. Find where the gas line enters the house and turn the small valve clockwise.
After The Hurricane
Listen for the official word from the National Weather Service that the storm has passed.
Seek medical assistance if necessary.
Do not eat or drink anything which came in contact with flood water, as it will be contaminated. Place any contaminated material in plastic bags and tie tightly.
Disinfect any cans, bottles or utensils which were touched by flood water. Do not use them if at all possible.
Stay away from power lines. Notify the power company if any are down in your area. Avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Do not sightsee damaged areas.
Drink only the water you stored before the hurricane. If you run out, add one teaspoon of household bleach per 10 gallons of water and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Do not put too much bleach in the water as it will cause severe diarrhea and possible vomiting.
Call family members to let them know you made it through the storm.
Watch out for fires. Water pressure will be low and make fire fighting difficult. Keep your portable fire extinguishers nearby.
***NOTE*** The Commanding Officer, NAS, JRB New Orleans will coordinate with the Navy Exchange to remain open as long as possible prior to the storm and to open up as quickly as possible after the storm.