Around St. Helena for Dec. 4, 2014 _lowres

Stephanie Warren

September is the height of hurricane season — and a key month for disaster preparedness. There’s one thing we hear storm victims say all the time following a natural disaster: “I can’t believe it happened here.”

After the storm passes, people say they wish they had developed a better plan beforehand. Hurricane Katrina will forever be planted in my mind, reminding me to get my family prepared. Here are a few things that I do to get prepared for the next natural disaster:

The last place you want to be during a natural disaster is stuck inside your home with no food. As a general rule, I have enough nonperishable food stored up to last for three days. If the power goes out for more than two hours, food inside your refrigerator will start to spoil, according to the Red Cross. Stocking up on a few days of food is especially crucial following weather events that shut down an entire city.

Make sure you have plenty of water before extreme weather threatens. I store one gallon per person per day. You’ll need at least that much for drinking, cooking and bathing.

In the event of a power outage, your debit card may not be useful. You’ll need cash to buy important items or to pay for services that become necessary during an emergency.

I keep a few hundred dollars tucked away in case extreme weather hits, and here’s another important thing to remember: You should get that money in small denominations, in case a business can’t break a $100 bill on the spot.

You don’t just need to have a nearby friend’s phone number if severe weather strikes. If a devastating weather system hits town, you might need to call a friend from afar.

If there’s widespread destruction, you may need to leave town. It’s vitally important to have a go-to friend or family member who is expecting your call and is willing to help you, whether it’s with resources or a place to stay. Make sure you set up an out-of-town emergency contact and make sure they know you’ll be relying on them if there’s an emergency.

Annual voter education/registration week

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the registrars of voters will conduct voter education week events Aug. 31 through Sept. 4. The St. Helena Parish Registrar of Voters will be at various locations with information on registering, early voting, voting by mail and election day. They encourage eligible residents 17 or older to take advantage of this opportunity to register. Below is a list of dates, times and locations:

Weekdays, 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31 through Sept. 4 at the Registrar of Voters office at 38 Kendrick St., Greensburg.

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Aug. 31 at Audubon Regional Library in Greensburg, 6131 La. 10, Greensburg.

11 a.m. to noon Aug. 31 at Amite Plaza, 30006 La. 16, Amite.

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1 at St. Helena Parish Nursing Home, 32 N. Second St., Greensburg.

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 1 at Hatfield’s Country Store, 24358 La. 43, Greensburg (Easleyville).

1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at Bebo’s, 2938 La. 38, Kentwood.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 2 at Lee’s Grocery, 47785 La. 16, Denham Springs.

4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 2 at Dennis Mills voting booth, 43076 La. 16, Pine Grove.

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 4 at Darlington Grocery, 13827 La. 10, Greensburg.

Residents can register to vote online at GeauxVote.com, by mail, at the Registrar of Voters office, or while obtaining services at the Office of Motor Vehicles, public assistance agencies, libraries and public schools. Call the St. Helena Parish Registrar of Voters at (225)-222-4440.

Contact Stephanie Warren by phone at (985) 517-4869 or email swarren@theadvocate.com.