BATON ROUGE (June 1, 2010) - Today is the first day of hurricane season and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is encouraging everyone to be ready. Weather officials are predicting an above normal hurricane season so it’s imperative to get prepared now. “Louisiana is no stranger to tropical storms, hurricanes and other catastrophic weather events,” said GOHSEP Director Mark Cooper. “These are very challenging times for the citizens of Louisiana, especially with the ongoing response efforts to a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf. We urge everyone to take personal responsibility and have a game plan for themselves and their families; and also check on elderly and/or disabled neighbors that might need assistance in developing their plan.” Across the Atlantic Basin, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting 14-23 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or higher), 8-14 hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or higher). Three to seven of those could be major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds of at least 111 mph). “It only takes one tropical storm or hurricane to impact the lives of our citizens,” added Cooper. “We can’t encourage enough for individuals and families to get prepared before a hurricane hits.” During an emergency, crucial state public information will be released through GOHSEP with the help of other state agencies that may be involved in the response actions. Depending on the scope of the emergency or the type of situation, these messages may be initiated by either the Parish or State emergency management organizations. During any type of major evacuation in the state, the Louisiana Emergency Alert System will broadcast evacuation information on all participating radio/TV stations for the affected areas. A list of hurricane supplies, evacuation information and other critical information can be found on the www.getagameplan.org website. Here are some examples of what you and your family may need in the event you must evacuate or shelter in place: •A three to five day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil •One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping bag per person •A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications •Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries •An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash or traveler's checks •Sanitation supplies •Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members •An extra pair of glasses •Important family documents in a portable, waterproof container •Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels •Paper and pencil •Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children •Infant formula and diapers •Pet food and extra water The 2010 Hurricane Evacuation Guides are available at the American Red Cross (ARC) chapters throughout the State of Louisiana. Have a game plan for where you and your family will go if you need to evacuate. You need a pet plan too! Hurricane season ends November 30.