New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity began in 1983, and since then, our affiliate has been part of the recovery of the city and the surrounding parishes after hurricanes, floods, tornados, and more. This page has a list of advice and resources to help prepare you for hurricanes and other disasters.
If you are looking for help with your home after a hurricane or other disaster, please visit our Home Repair Services page. Please note that home repair applications have been paused until Monday, May 2, 2022. If you are looking for information on our COVID response, please click here.
Flood relief project, September 2016
Though these preparations are for hurricanes, many of these can also be of great help in other circumstances, especially during prolonged power outages. Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, but as we have seen, the season is starting earlier and ending later each year. It never hurts to be prepared at all times.
Even if water is running after a disaster, it may not be safe to drink or bathe with. Check with local authorities like the Sewerage and Water Board to be sure. Keep a three-day supply of water, with at least one gallon of water per person per day, and store it in plastic containers. Be aware that some people, such as nursing mothers and infants, may need more water.
Keep at least three days of non-perishable food. Foods that will last without refrigeration, can be prepared easily without a stove, and that do not require extra water are best. For cooking purposes, keeping Sterno or other portable, non-electric heat sources can also help. Make sure you have a good can opener.
Be sure to keep a first aid kit, several days worth of clothing, candles and flashlights (and matches and batteries), and a months’ worth of any necessary prescription medication.
- Put up storm boards. See this video for instructions.
- Bring in your pets and anything you have outside that might get picked up by the wind, including garbage bins. If you cannot bring them in, secure them in some way.
- Clear your gutters and downspouts.
- Clean nearby catch basins to help reduce flooding.
- If you have time, trim any plants, including trees, that might create debris or damage your home.
- In case of a power outage, keep your electronic devices charged as long as you can and don’t use too much cell phone battery.
- Lower the temperature of your fridge in order to make it as cold as possible, giving you a little extra time to save the food inside.
Habitat Homes are built to withstand dangerous weather conditions. Shutters protect the front windows. Homes are raised to help protect from flooding, and the chain wall in front prevents debris from being blown under the house.
To prepare for flooding, move as much as you can to higher places in your house. Evacuate the house as quickly as you can if it begins to flood. If your neighborhood is flooded, do not walk or drive through floodwaters if at all possible. If you are in your car while water rises around it, get out of the car as quickly as possible. You can report flooding emergencies to 911.
Be ready to evacuate. Follow local and state news for evacuation orders and routes. Keep a bag ready with essentials, including clothing, ID, any important papers, medication, first aid, and food and water. Keep pet-carriers nearby. If you plan your evacuation ahead of time, decide on a route and arrange places to stay. Not all hotels/motels will allow pets, so check beforehand if you are traveling with animals. Make sure your gas tank is full if you are driving yourself. For evacuation assistance, see Evacuteer.
If you are a homeowner, make sure your homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, and health insurance are all up to date. If you are a renter, make sure your health insurance is up to date, and look into local insurance options for renters. Check your plans to see if they cover hurricanes or other disasters—many do not. Check on your car insurance policy as well.
Many insurance policies do not cover flooding, so double-check that you are covered. For flood insurance information, you can check out these resources on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):