With hurricane season only a few weeks away, now is the time homeowners should start making necessary preparations to protect their homes and loved ones. Through the new Louisiana Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards, residents of Louisiana have a useful resource at their fingertips as they begin readying their families for natural disasters.

The handbook explains the forces of nature that act on structures during storms, including the dangers associated with high winds, heavy rain and storm surge. It further lays out ways to gird a home against these forces to minimize or negate their effects, as well as information on how to reduce the human toll exacted by dangerous storms.

“There are tips and information specific to Louisiana residents for preparing evacuation plans and kits, construction practices, retrofitting, shutter styles, insurance information and emergency contact numbers. Basically everything a homeowner needs to know in coastal Louisiana to be best prepared for coastal hazards,” said Melissa Daigle, resiliency specialist with Louisiana Sea Grant.

The handbook is available in PDF format at http://www.laseagrant.org/wp-content/uploads/LA_Homeowners_Handbook_v3.pdf as a free download. Free hard copies will be available at various locations throughout coastal parishes, or the book can be ordered for $5 – to cover postage and handling – by emailing Jessica Schexnayder at jsche15@lsu.edu.

Louisiana Sea Grant produced the handbook with the help of other state, regional and national organizations. The handbook was funded through a program of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) which aims to see each Gulf state prepare its own guidelines for coastal residents in their state. With recent storms – including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricane Gustav in 2008, and the Mississippi River flooding in 2011 – being among the worst in memory, preparing beforehand for a natural hazard has become even more important for residents of vulnerable areas.

“Mississippi and Alabama have already completed the books. Louisiana is the third state of the five Gulf coast states to complete a handbook,” said Daigle. “The goal of the project is to help build a more resilient coast by getting important information into the hands of homeowners along Louisiana’s coast.”

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at LSU, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 33 university-based programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico.

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