(WAFB) - With hurricane season beginning June 1, FEMA and the IRS are encouraging Louisiana residents to prepare accordingly.
FEMA offers residents the following tip to get ready:
- Update your disaster kit. Visit ready.gov for recommendations about gathering items such as a 3-day supply of non-perishable foods and bottled water, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, cash, necessary medications, a first aid kit, food for pets, and important family documents.
- Cut down/trim damaged trees and limbs and clear out pipes, ditches, and culverts so water does not back up and cause flooding
- Tie down or bring inside outdoor toys/furniture if a severe storm is approaching
- Know evacuation routes ahead of time and plan for overnight lodging. Have a family evacuation plan in place to keep your family safe and together
- Contact local emergency management officials for information evacuation routes, order, and shelters at the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP).
- Develop an emergency communication plan, which includes phone numbers for friends/family members outside the state in the event of separation when the storm hits
- Be Informed:
- Download the FEMA mobile app
- Listen to the NOAA weather radio or local radio/TV stations for up-to-date storm information
- Search the internet or log in to Twitter and search the name of your city and the word "alerts" to stay connected with the latest information
- Wait until local officials say it's safe to return home before doing so
Those who currently live in MHUs should know the trailers do not provide safe shelter during a hurricane or tornado. Below are some tips for those living in MHUs:
- Leave the MHU when there is a tornado or hurricane
- Listen to the equipped weather radio inside the MHU for storm warnings
- Put important items on high shelves to protect from flooding
For more information, click here.
Other useful hurricane preparedness links:
The IRS offers the following tips to taxpayers with hurricane season approaching:
- Don't Forget to Update Emergency Plans
- Since disaster can strike at any time, update emergency plans annually. Businesses and individuals alike should review their plans so they can be prepared. Practice these plans as well.
- Create Electronic Copies of Key Documents
- Taxpayers can protect themselves by keeping a duplicate set of important documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, identification documents, and insurance policies. These documents should be kept in a safe, water-proof container in a different place from the where the original documents are stored. If paper documents are lost, check online to see if the documents are available for download.
- Document Valuables
- Photograph or take video of the contents of your home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time makes it easier to make an insurance claim after the disaster. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, online here, which can assist taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings. Photos of belonging should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area if possible.
- Check on Fiduciary Bonds
- Employers who use payroll service providers should find out if the provider has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect employers in the event of default by the payroll service provider.
- IRS Ready to Help
- If there is a federally declared disaster, affected taxpayers can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues. To request back copies of previously filed tax returns and attachments, including W-2 forms, fill out Form 4506. Transcripts showing most line items can also be ordered through the Get Transcript link on IRS.gov, or by calling 1-800-908-9946, or by using Form 4506T-EZ, or Form 4506-T.
Other helpful links: