For Louisiana residents, hurricanes are a familiar occurrence. The majority of residents have experienced many hurricanes and understand how to adequately prepare for one. Those who are older, though, can find themselves facing many challenges that hinder their ability to handle a natural disaster of this magnitude. Age can lead to more concerns due to health issues, diminished awareness, and problems with mobility. Because of these problems, older Louisianians can find themselves most affected by these storms. These problems were made apparent when Hurricane Katrina hit and over half of those who died were 75 or older, according to NBC News. However, there are so many things that can be done in order to best prepare for a hurricane.
Before the Storm Hits
Preparation is the most important thing when it comes to hurricanes. Once it makes landfall, going outside becomes very dangerous. That is why it is essential that you gather these supplies ahead of time. It is important to keep up to date on the storm: knowing key pieces of information like size, strength, where exactly it is going to hit, and when it is supposed to make landfall are crucial if you are to prepare properly.
This is more than simply stocking up on food, water, gas, boarding up windows, and making any other preparations to the house. In addition to these things, it is also important that you have an ample supply of any medication that you are taking. If you rely on any special medical equipment like oxygen tanks, make sure to have some spares. In addition to these essentials, it is a good practice to also have legal documents, as well as contact information for doctors and family members inside of a waterproof bag for insurance and identification purposes.
Before the storm hits, it is vital to take advantage of this time to establish a support system. It is important to have someone check on you before and after the storm in order to ensure that everything is okay. In the cases where something does go wrong, having a support system in place ensures that you are receiving the care and attention you may need whether that be more supplies or medical treatment. If you do not have family nearby, turn to your neighbors, local families, churches, and friends. In a difficult time like a hurricane, it is important to lean into community and to have each other’s backs. Luckily, when most people notice you’re alone, others will step up and offer a helping hand, whether that be fortifying houses or gathering supplies and preparing an emergency evacuation kit.
When the Storm Hits
Once the storm hits, it is important to ensure that you’re comfortable and able to be self-sufficient for a period of time. Take the supplies that were gathered and designate a safe room to hunker down in. This room should be more inward and windowless in order to best protect from flying debris and floodwater. In the worst case scenario, and evacuation is imminent, it is crucial that you are prepared to leave as every second is important. A go-bag on wheels can help you more easily evacuate when it is needed.
After the Storm
Once a hurricane passes, there are still precautions that need to be taken. The aftermath typically consists of very hot and humid weather, and pairing this with the loss of electricity can lead to dangerous consequences. Unfortunately, as we all get older, we often have an especially difficult time dealing with these increased temperatures, especially with living in Louisiana. Because of this, it is important to make sure you have that support system in place so you will have contact with someone who can help, if needed. Even if your home appears undamaged from the outside, the lack of power can lead to heat strokes and other medical problems if precautions aren’t taken. Having contacts during this time is crucial. However, if phones are down, make sure you have someone close by who can stop by your home to check in. Something as simple as checking in after the storm passes can even boost morale and create a sense of security. When disasters occur, it takes a community to recover from them. This same community is what is essential to have in order to protect those who need it the most.