Prevent Accidents & Injuries This Hurricane Season
It’s been nearly 16 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and surrounding areas, killing over 1,800 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. Although some structural improvements have been made to NOLA’s levees and floodwalls since then, tropical storms and hurricanes remain a significant threat to New Orleans residents, especially those living outside the city.
With hurricane season in full swing, many residents already have a hurricane and disaster preparedness plan in place. But it’s all too easy to become complacent when you’re used to the high winds and large amounts of rainfall associated with hurricane season. That’s why Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys compiled the following New Orleans hurricane safety tips to help prevent avoidable accidents and injuries before, during, and after a storm.
New Orleans Hurricane Safety Tips
Hurricane season in New Orleans generally occurs from the beginning of June through the end of November. This means residents and visitors should be prepared for a potential storm at a moment’s notice.
Before a Storm
Because of the somewhat unpredictable nature of hurricanes, what starts as a typical rainstorm can rapidly escalate into a deadly disaster. With a bit of planning and preparation, however, you can lower your risk of being caught off guard by a tropical depression, storm, or hurricane by being NOLA ready.
- Know your flood risk. Some areas of New Orleans are more susceptible to flooding. You can find out the overall flood risk of your home, school, or workplace by using the FEMA flood maps portal.
- Make an emergency kit. Keep at least one emergency kit in your car, home, and workplace.
- Maintain an emergency food and water supply. Hurricanes may affect your power and water supply. If you know a storm is coming, invest in extra drinking water and non-perishable food items.
- Tune in to weather forecasts frequently. Remember, weather situations can evolve rapidly. Stay up-to-date on weather conditions in your local area.
- Secure outdoor objects. If you know a storm is coming or winds begin to pick up, secure any patio furniture, garbage cans, or other outdoor objects inside your garage or home.
- Fortify your home. If you suspect you may need to shelter in place, you should fortify the weakest points of your house. This means covering your windows with storm shutters or marine plywood, reinforcing your garage door, and using straps or clips to ensure your roof is securely fastened.
- Prepare for an evacuation. On the off chance that you may need to evacuate quickly, make sure your car has a full tank of gas. If you do not have a vehicle, make a mutual evacuation plan with a neighbor, coworker, friend, or family member who does. Become familiar with your evacuation route and the nearest shelter.
During a Storm
Depending on the severity of the storm—from a garden variety rainstorm to a full-blown hurricane—you may or may not need to seek immediate shelter. Knowing when to get inside can save your life, so it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings. Most of the time, you’ll have at least a few days’ notice before a tropical storm is expected to make landfall. However, the days leading up to a tropical storm or hurricane can also be uncertain.
- If you’re driving: If you’re driving in stormy weather, immediately slow down your speed. Rain can not only reduce visibility but also cause hydroplaning. You should also increase your following distance of other vehicles, giving them plenty of space for unexpected stops. In addition, never attempt to drive through flowing water. It takes just six to twelve inches of water for most cars to be swept away. Further, mind any barricades that have been set up, and stay away from roads near creeks and rivers. If you get caught in a hurricane, try to park your vehicle in a garage or near a building to help shield you from high-force winds.
- If you’re outside: Stormy conditions are especially dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. High winds can literally knock you off of your feet, and you are also at a higher risk for blunt-force injuries from flying debris. If you are outside when a storm hits, stay as far away as possible from potential flood areas and take shelter immediately.
- If you’re inside: Stay there. If a hurricane watch or warning is in effect and you see storms on the horizon, stay put. Follow weather updates via TV, phone, or radio and follow all instructions to either shelter in place or prepare for evacuation.
- If you shelter in place, be sure to stay away from windows and keep your emergency kit nearby.
- If you need to evacuate due to encroaching floodwaters or if there are downed power lines, turn off your power, gas, and water to prevent possible electrocution.
After a Storm
It’s important to realize that the dangers associated with tropical storms or hurricanes don’t end just because the storm appears to have passed. Stay on your guard after a storm with these New Orleans hurricane safety tips.
- Listen to local officials. If you have evacuated, do not return to your home until officials have given the all-clear to do so.
- Be on the lookout for road debris. In addition to lingering flood waters, debris such as fallen trees or power lines can easily lead to a car accident.
- Don’t re-enter your home until you know it is safe. Check for loose power lines, gas leaks, or major structural damage. If you were unable to turn off the power before you left, carefully do so at the main breaker or fuse box.
Once the storm has passed and you have been able to survey the damage to your home or business, you may want to file a claim with your insurance company. Should you need assistance filing a claim or appealing a denied claim, consider reaching out to a hurricane insurance claims lawyer for a free legal consultation.
Injured During Hurricane Season?
Many of the accidents and injuries associated with hurricanes and tropical storms have less to do with the storms themselves and more to do with human error, in spite of following these New Orleans hurricane safety tips. If you are injured during a storm or hurricane because of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation.
Contact the experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyers at Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation and to answer all your legal questions. Our law firm is committed to helping our clients in the most effective and safest ways possible. Call us at one of the numbers below, talk to an agent via LiveChat, or send us a secure message about your case.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.