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How My Dad’s Preparedness Saved Me During Hurricane Katrina

By: Catherine Alford @

hurricane-katrina-homes-destroyed_12176_600x450Losing your childhood home is something you never, ever think is going to happen. Natural disasters are things that affect other people, not you, right?

I wish that were true.

In 2005, I was getting ready to start college in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although my childhood home was just 30 minutes away, I was excited nonetheless. The only thing that was putting a damper in my plans was the fact that there was a hurricane brewing in the Gulf. Still, we were from south Louisiana. We were hurricane veterans.

I moved into my college dorm just as we planned, but just one hour into unpacking my room, we got word that the city was evacuating. We went home to wait it out. The storm still wasn’t anything worth talking about yet, just a minor annoyance breaking into my plans to start college.

However, as most of you know, things quickly took a turn for the worse.

I’ll never forget my brother waking me up the next day. “Get up! The storm moved to a Category 5. We have to prepare the house!”

All day we tried to protect the furniture by moving it a few feet and protect the windows by nailing boards to them.

Looking back, I don’t know why we even tried. Nothing could stop Katrina. It was like we put a tiny little band-aid to shield our house, and Katrina blew it off without so much as a heavy puff.

Even though there was nothing we could have done to protect the house, there was a lot to be done to protect ourselves. That’s where my dad comes in.

My dad is Mr. Prepared. He moved us to a safe location and operated generators that gave us power even during the thick of the storm. He was producing so much power that we were actually using a microwave and heating up canned food to eat. He also had a battery powered radio where we could hear the latest news. And, in the middle of the storm, when the doors blew open at the location we were staying, he had ropes ready, which he and my brother used to seal them shut.

As I type this, I am still amazed at how prepared my dad was. There was no way that he could have put together this level of emergency kit overnight. This was something that he thought about and collected over time. This was something he was set on having to protect his family in the worst possible scenario. He just didn’t know that he was actually going to face that worst case scenario.

You never think that things like Katrina will happen to you, but I can promise you that the peace of mind of having a plan is worth it. Take the time today to build your emergency kit, and think through an evacuation plan. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Just start small today. From someone with experience, I can promise you, you’ll be glad you did.

You can learn more about Cat Alford on her blog: