Tropical storm conditions are now imminent and occurring across some portions of our state. A slight shift will bring tropical storm force winds and flowing rain farther into eastern Arkansas. As our office closely monitors Hurricane Laura through our National Weather Service, I ask that all citizens immediately prepare for its arrival, as it makes its way towards us. Hurricane Laura is dangerous and life-threatening. We also ask that citizens remain vigilant and aware of the gusty winds accompanied by heavy rainfall and potential flooding expected with Hurricane Laura.
As the conditions in Jefferson County begin to develop, we ask everyone to please stay safe and plan ahead. A few preparations can help keep you and your family safe during and after a natural disaster. Please pay close attention to the warnings and public service announcements. They may save your life or the lives of your loved ones. The following are a few suggestions to help keep you and your family safe:
- Make a plan for your family: When preparing for the possibility of hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes and floods, families need to be prepared for the worst. Expect power outages. Proactive planning for possible disasters can help reduce chaos during the situation. Your plan should include generators, fuel, evacuation routes, emergency numbers, shelter locations, and a communication plan.
- Make a disaster/survival kit: Each kit should have basic items such as bottled water, non-perishable food items and snacks, flashlights, batteries, sanitation items, important documents and first aid kits. For children, you may want to have extra school supplies to keep them busy, comfort items such as blankets, toys, and books.
- Practice your plan: Practicing your disaster plan can help ease your mind and the mind of your children. Practicing evacuation plans, where to go for shelter, where to meet, and memorizing emergency numbers will help.
- Stay informed: Staying safe during a natural disaster is a family’s number one priority. To keep your family safe, you need to stay informed. Watch the weather reports on local and national television stations. When a major disaster is impending or has occurred, it is advised that everyone should have a reliable resource for emergency alerts, such as phone apps and an emergency radio with batteries. Checking social media may also help with finding shelters, best evacuation routes, and assessing local damage.
- Travel only if necessary: Please do not drive unless it is necessary during, and immediately after, the storm. Expect hazardous road conditions. Some roads and bridges will be slippery when wet. Be aware of downed power lines and trees or tree branches in the roadway. Expect some flooding in low lying areas. Driving in these conditions are unsafe and may be deadly. Please do not needlessly create traffic crashes and incidents that will divert our staff from other important functions.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be working through the oncoming hurricane. We will be providing law enforcement and public safety services for you to the best of our ability.