Hurricane Preparation 2017

Hurricane Season begins June 1st and ends November 30th.  Historically, the most active time is mid-August through mid-October; however hurricanes and tropical storms have struck the Gulf Coast outside the peak time frame; therefore, it's always prudent to be prepared.

Please make sure you have the following supplies on hand for hurricane season:

  • 3-Day supply of non-perishable food
  • 3-Day supply of water (1 gallon per day per person)
  • Manual can opener
  • Bedding/sleeping bags
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Duct tape, tarp and rope
  • Ensure prescriptions are current and filled
  • Toiletries
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye contacts & solution
  • Spare keys
  • Eating utensils
  • Hearing Aids
  • Contact information for place of evacuation
  • Money, checks, and or credit cards
  • USB Flash drive with any important documents/photos

In addition, in the event of an evacuation, Pastors should be prepared to take with them:

  • The Blessed Sacrament (if not already consumed)
  • Sacred Vessels

Evacuation

If the town or civil parish authorities issue a mandatory evacuation order, please follow the instructions of emergency authorities and evacuate. Pastors should provide their Regional Vicar with their evacuation contact information and current cell phone number prior to leaving.

During the Storm

If you did not evacuate, stay in the most protected area of the building, away from doors and windows. Turn off the main gas, electricity and water valves. Avoid using a corded phone. Use flashlights and battery operated lamps. Please note our buildings are not designed to be public shelters. Refer to the Red Cross for shelter locations.

Communications

Expect normal communications to be intermittent or inoperable via land line phones and cell phones as towers may be damaged or toppled over. In addition, access to Internet may also be inoperable.  

Including data and texting in your cell phone plan may assist with communications after a storm.  Due to the way technology works with voice-based calls versus data/texting, data and texting can be more effective for communications immediately following a hurricane.

Knowing that communications are likely to be impacted both during a storm and days after, it is vital to ensure all employees, volunteers, and other stakeholders know your local plan.  Be sure you can effectively communicate what actions you intend to take while you can still utilize all forms of communication. 

Securing Sacramental Registers and Papers

In the event of evacuation, the Pastor should plan on bringing the sacramental register and any other vital documents with him, such as architectural drawings, checkbooks and payroll information. Permanent records should be stored on high shelves or in ice chests sealed with duct tape to avoid water damage. Please note that safes are generally not waterproof.

Protect Your Parish / Home

  • Turn off gas, water and electricity (reduces chance of fire/interior flood during/after storm). Utilities should remain on for schools and other buildings with large inventories of foodstuff.
  • Board up windows (protects against flying debris and theft).
  • Brace garage doors (if a garage door fails, the amount of wind force may cause substantial damage).
  • Bring outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, or other loose objects; anchor items you cannot bring inside (these items can cause significant damage to your facility or home if left unattended).
  • Lock all windows and doors (reduces damage from wind/rain and deters theft).
  • Make boarding arrangements for animals (not all evacuation sites such as hotels are pet friendly).

Trees, Trees, Trees!

One of the more economical ways to mitigate damage to your facility or home is to properly maintain trees on your property.  Pruning trees to remove damaged or dead branches and looking for dead or diseased trees ahead of time can make a significant difference to the extent of damage caused to your home or Parish.

When Returning to Your Parish/Home

  • Watch for debris on the road while driving.
  • Pastors should inform their Regional Vicar of their status.
  • Employees and volunteers should inform the Pastor or his designee of their status.
  • Try to return during daylight hours in the event there is no electricity.
  • Look for downed power lines and notify your utility company.  
  • If your town experienced flooding keep in mind dangerous indigenous animals, such as snakes, will be displaced.
  • Be careful when entering a damaged structure.
  • Look for information concerning your town’s water supply. You may need to boil water before use.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the building immediately and contact the gas company or fire department.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks when power is restored, immediately shut off the power at the main circuit breaker and contact your utility company.
  • Never place a generator inside a building due to carbon monoxide; place a generator outside in a well-ventilated area.  
  • Never hard wire a generator into your building’s electric panel unless done by a licensed and insured electrician.  
  • Use personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection when operating a chainsaw.
  • Ensure all ladders/extension ladders are in good working order and tied off or second person to steady the ladder.
  • Have a photo ID such as current driver’s license to show civil authorities. Some areas may be restricted to only allow local residents.