Strain: Prepare For Hurricane Season

BATON ROUGE – Hurricane season is quickly approaching and there are already signs of a possible tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico. While there is no impact expected in Louisiana at this time, the situation could change as the weekend approaches depending on the track of the storm.

“The tropical outlook remains uncertain at this time. There could be some heavy rain through the weekend,” said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “People are often busy on a holiday weekend and we want to make sure citizens keep an eye on the forecast.”

The LDAF now has a second mobile pet shelter to assist in keeping family pets in close proximity to their owners when an evacuation is necessary. The second mobile pet shelter was made possible through a grant from the Banfield Foundation. The Banfield Foundation is the charitable arm of Banfield Pet Hospital, which has a disaster relief grant program to ensure pets impacted by disasters receive the care they need.

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The LDAF is designated by the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act to evacuate, transport and shelter household pets during declared emergencies.

Livestock owners should also begin making preparations now. Identify an area on the property that is least likely to flood and where livestock can quickly and easily be moved when a hurricane or other severe weather threatens the area.

Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP).

This is also a good time to mitigate potential damage to your property by removing dead trees or cutting back tree limbs hanging over homes or businesses.

“It is best to use a licensed arborist to cut trees around your property because they are trained and must maintain liability insurance. Hiring a licensed arborist protects you. Ask to see a license issued by LDAF before allowing any work to be done on your property. Also, be sure to get a written estimate and never pay for the job up front,” said Strain.

In January, the LDAF launched a mobile horticulture application (app) which allows users to verify individuals claiming to be landscaping or other horticulture professionals. The app, called LDAF Business Search, may be downloaded for free at the iTunes and Google Play stores.  

Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30. For more information on emergency preparation for livestock and pets, visit www.LDAF.la.gov  and click on the Emergency Programs icon on the right hand side of the page.

For more information on how to prepare a family and business plan, go to www.getagameplan.org.