SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. That’s the approach emergency leaders are urging people in the ArkLaTex to take as we officially enter hurricane season.

“We might not feel the immediate effects as if we were in, you know, the New Orleans area or south of us, but we do end up inevitably, we can have some effects of those,” said Karen McCoy, Executive Director of North Louisiana American Red Cross.

In addition to alternate power sources and ample supplies, the American Red Cross recommends actively creating an evacuation plan, regardless of your living situation.

Michael Corbin of Louisiana SWEPCO urges residents to pay attention to weather forecasts and prepare safety kits.

“We’ve had a bad couple years with hurricanes in Louisiana as far north as Shreveport,” Corbin said. “So we ask that our customers pay attention to the weather forecasts. If you have medications or life-saving medical devices, make sure that you have ample supplies and you have alternate power sources because with the storms we’ve seen the last few years, we’ve seen outrages that last multiple days.”

Though the ArkLaTex is often spared from the most devastating and often deadly aspects of these hurricanes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2022 hurricane season is expected to be “above-normal.” As many as 10 hurricanes could form, forecasters from the  Administration said last month.

SWEPCO in particular warns against the common practice of residents installing their own generators.

“There’s a lot of concern about generators because it’s easy to go to the local store to pick up a generator and we’ve had so many storms in our area that a lot of people have gone and spent the few hundred dollars necessary to do that,” Corbin said. “Generator safety is a huge thing. Be sure that you’ve had an electrician come to your home and put the proper connection device in your fuse box and fuse panel to connect the generator.”

The CDC also has some helpful tips for residents to prepare for severe weather.

  • Have a plan
    • Write down emergency numbers, locate the nearest shelter in case of evacuation, and have an emergency supply kit
  • Prepare your home
    • Make sure yards are clear of debris that could quickly become dangerous in the case of intense winds
    • Cover up doors and windows
    • Check carbon monoxide detectors
  • Gather essential supplies
    • Be stocked with water and non-perishable foods, power sources, important documents, medicine, and personal items
  • Keep the car maintained
    • Make sure the gas tank is filled and the car, if possible, is protected in a garage or under an awning
    • Keep an emergency kit inside

“One thing that we ask that you not is sit idle and not be informed and not know what’s going on around you or thinking that it can’t happen to you,” McCoy told KTAL News.