Hurricane season begins

The 2013 hurricane season is reported to be quite active according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA has named 13 to 20 storms and up to 11 can become hurricanes.
“We just have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said Mayor of Hammond Mayson Foster.
Always make sure to have a first aid kit, plenty of water, flashlights, batteries and canned food to last for up to a week without power if planning  to ride out a storm.
Entergy Customer Service Manager for the Northshore Craig Schimpf says preparing also means being safe before, during and after a storm, and this includes maintaining a property’s landscape and correctly using a generator.
Since Hurricane Isaac, Entergy employees continue to trim and cut tree limbs to prevent power outages as much as possible.
“Vegetation management is very important,” Schimpf said. “Trees are the number one source of power outages.”
 Generators should be in working order before a storm hits. Make sure to have enough gasoline for safe operation. Rain may prompt many to bring their generator inside the home, but this can be deadly due to carbon monoxide buildup. Also avoid “back-feeding” the generator into the house.
“People will pull the electric meter and wire it, and ‘back-feed’ it into their house,” said Schimpf. “This makes the electricity come to all your outlets, but it is so bad because it’s possible that you can be back-feeding it into the system. If our men are out there working on the power lines nearby then it can cause serious injury.”
Plugging in appliances to a power surge and then directly plugging that into the generator is a much safer way.
Entergy is taking necessary precautions with the lessons learned from Hurricane Isaac last August.
“It was a very unique storm,” Schimpf said. “[The long hours of rain] made it very hard to get people out there safely to being helping. The lesson is never assume you’ve seen it all because Mother Nature does have a way of showing us something new.”  
The Entergy App for smart phones, and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube fully connect customers to Entergy in case of emergency. The app also pinpoints exactly where the outages and damages are, and it gives customers an estimated time on power restoration. This gives Entergy the chance to “proactively contact the customer with outage information,” said Schimpf.
In case of a mandatory evacuation, residents should have a plan; the smart choice would be to go North. Map out a route, budget enough money for gas, food and first aid supplies as well as taking care of the family pet’s needs. Also, make sure any vehicle is maintained.
 According to Vanessa Bolano of WGNO News, an evacuation trip for a family of four to Little Rock, Ark. can average up to $1,000.
Shelters in Tangipahoa Parish include the Kinesiology Building at Southeastern for special needs residents, Options Incorporated and Hammond Junior High School.
Stay tuned to Southeastern’s homepage for notices of evacuations throughout the season. All students on campus at the time of a storm are required to evacuate if called by the Parish President.
Those who cannot leave campus and are in need of shelter may call the University Police at 549-2222. Listen to KSLU 90.9 FM for local news, WWL 870 AM for New Orleans news and WJBO 1150 AM for Baton Rouge news.  For down power lines call Entergy at 1-800-9OUTAGE.