Traveling with ESAs & Pets During a Louisiana Hurricane {Must Read}

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hurricane katrina travelling towards new orleans louisiana

If you live in Louisiana, there is no doubt that your life has been affected by a hurricane at some point. The scars of Hurricane Katrina still linger in the Big Easy, serving as a reminder of the fury of nature. This article will assist ESA owners and future ESA owners in ensuring they themselves, and their emotional support animals are safe and legally sound this hurricane season, in the event of the landfall of a Louisiana Hurricane.

In the coastal Gulf states, hurricane season is fraught with anxiety and fear that hurricanes forming through the Atlantic could smash into the cities situated on the edge of the US, with little warning.

Hurricanes have been getting even more ferocious and unpredictable in past years, bringing winds upwards of 100 mph, heavy rain, flooding, damage and most tragically, death. Mandatory evacuation orders issued by the National Hurricane Center have increased too.

The best way to feel secure in states typically affected by hurricanes, like Louisiana, is to have a solid action plan in place, should a hurricane hit. If you have an ESA in Louisiana it is important to prepare for them as well – leaving an animal behind during a hurricane is extremely risky.

Leaving your ESA to face a hurricane alone is very likely to result in their death!

Those with emotional support animals need to know the protocols for ensuring their animal is permitted with them during the stress and chaos of a natural disaster situation.

Mandatory Evacuation Louisiana: ESA Protocol for When You’re in an Evacuation Zone

Before a hurricane strikes Louisiana, many areas will have a mandatory evacuation order in place. This is often determined by areas that are to be located in dangerous ‘surge’ flooding zones, where high seas can create huge waves that result in extreme flooding.

If you live on the Louisiana coast or in such an area, it’s a good idea to have alternative accommodation options ready to go in the event of a Louisiana hurricane.

Remember – if there is a mandatory evacuation order, that means everyone needs to leave, including your ESA! Besides keeping them safe, they are also an invaluable support system in such a stressful and anxiety-inducing situation.

evacuation zone mandatory sheet and evacuation plan hurricane louisiana

How to Get An ESA Letter To Make Traveling with Your Furkid Easier!

To avoid more stress during a Louisiana hurricane, it’s a good idea to carry an ESA letter with you. Having documentation that you can present proving your need for an ESA makes it possible for you to travel on an aircraft or stay in rented accommodation, under federal law.

Know Your Rights! The 2 Vital Emotional Support Animal Laws

The federal laws that back up your right to this are the Aircraft Carrier Access Act and the Fair Housing Act.

Aircraft Carrier Access Act (ACA)

This law allows those with a legitimate emotional support animal (in most cases only cats and dogs) to travel with them without incurring an extra fee.

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The FHA allows those who require an ESA, as confirmed by a licensed mental health professional, are able to live or stay with their ESA in any accommodation with appropriate documentation.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal Before the Hurricane Strikes: CertaPet’s simple 5 min process

If you have a pet that you use for emotional support but have not had time to obtain documentation, Certapet’s easy process can help. All you need to do is undertake Certapet’s simple 5-minute pre-screening process.

After being approved, Certapet will put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional near you, who can assist in receiving your ESA documentation.

Remember it’s never too late – Certapet is there to help you before, during, and after a Louisiana hurricane!

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal with You During Scary Times

It’s important to take your ESA with you to save their lives. But, let’s not forget, this is an emotional support animal! Having your ESA with you in stressful situations is incredibly helpful, and a hurricane is no exception.

There are huge benefits to having your ESA by your side during a natural disaster.

The Calming Comfort of an ESA

Having your dog or cat with you when you are evacuating or when a hurricane hit is one of the best ways to stay calm and reduce anxiety. Animals provide soothing support in highly stressful situations.

Looking after your ESA can also help you to focus nervous energy towards a worthwhile task – rather than just having anxious thoughts about the storm!

dogs in car ready for hurricane season louisiana

Hurricane Season Louisiana: Know Your Hurricane Categories!

During hurricane season, it’s important to know storm categories and what they mean. This can help you and your ESA stay safe and prepared. Here’s a quick guide:

Category 1 

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage.

High winds of between 74 – 95 mph. Power outages may occur. This is the lowest category. Hurricane Isaac which hit Louisiana in 2012, for example, was a Category 1 hurricane.

Category 2

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.

There can be near total power outages that can last anywhere from days to weeks in this category. Expect between 96 – 110 mph winds. Hurricane Frances, that hit Florida in 2004 was a category 2 hurricane.

Category 3

Devastating damage will occur.

Winds of between 111 – 129 mph. The most infamous category 3 Louisiana hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Katrina. The thing that caused the immense scale of damage in the case of Katrina was the huge storm surge and flood water that the hurricane brought with it, which was able to breach protective levees.

Category 4 

Catastrophic damage will occur.

Category 4 hurricanes can record strong winds of up to an incredible 130 – 156 mph. Hurricane Ike was Category 4 when it made landfall in Cuba, and it also caused massive damage in Texas and Louisiana.

Category 5 

Catastrophic damage will occur.

Storms with winds that are 157 mph or higher are classified as category 5 hurricanes. The strongest form of a hurricane, a category five can cause unbelievable damage. Power is often out for weeks or months at a time after such a hurricane. Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in 2017, was a category 5 hurricane which did major damage to many countries and also the U.S.

Storms 101: Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones!

So what is the difference between all those different names you hear for tropical storms – hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones?

You may be surprised to learn that the only difference between the three is the physical location of the storm. Storms that occur in the Atlantic or the north-eastern Pacific area are titled hurricanes.

In the north-western Pacific area, the same storm is called a typhoon. In the South Pacific and Indian ocean, the storm is known as a cyclone.

On the subject of storms, while these three are the same type of storm with different names, tornadoes are a completely different type of storm cell, with no relation to hurricanes.

Be Prepared! NHC and NOAA: Hurricane Tracking Made Easy!

The government has worked with experts to come up with two excellent tools to help you stay informed of the movement of Louisiana and statewide hurricanes.

The National Hurricane Centre provides real-time hurricane tracking system online. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association also runs the National Weather Service, which provides regular updates on weather happenings around the U.S.

emotional support dog sad for louisiana evacuation hurricane

When is Hurricane Season in Louisiana?

Hurricane season in Louisiana starts on June 1 and ends November 30. Historically, the majority of hurricanes that have affected Louisiana have been in the late August to September period.

5 of the Worst Hurricanes that Hit the U.S. in Recent Years!

The U.S. lays claim to some of the areas worst affected by hurricanes on earth! Some of the worst that our country has had to deal with in recent memory are:

Hurricane Katrina

Katrina was a devastating Louisiana hurricane, where cities near the coast such as New Orleans were hit with heavy rain and storm surges which caused catastrophic flooding.

Hurricane Florence

Florence occurred just weeks ago, slamming hard into the Carolinas. 35.93 inches of rain was recorded as falling, making it the 8th wettest hurricane on record, and causing serious freshwater flooding.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma holds the title for the most destructive hurricane ever to hit Florida, surpassing hurricane Andrew 25 years earlier. It did major damage to the Florida Keys, where repairs are still happening.

Hurricane Maria

This hurricane was the worst natural disaster on record for Dominica and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Harvey Louisiana

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas before striking Southwest Louisiana in 2017. It is tied with Katrina as the costliest hurricane clean up on record in the U.S.

emotional support animal and pet left behind during new orleans hurricane season

Have Your Dog Emergency Kit Ready for When Those Gulf Winds Pick Up!

Residents that live in known evacuation zones or even those who are in states like Louisiana which are prone to hurricanes should always be ready for an emergency.

A wonderful way to ensure your pet is safe is to have a dog emergency kit ready to go when a hurricane warning is issued.

12 Things to Have in Your Pet’s Kit

A comprehensive pet kit for a hurricane should include:

  • Vet records
  • Ownership records
  • Recent photos of your pet
  • Microchip information
  • Two week supply of food and clean water
  • Any medications they may need
  • Flea and Heartworm medicine (One month supply)
  • Lead and collar with ID tag
  • Bed and blanket
  • Pet carrier
  • Pet First Aid Book
  • CBD Oil or CBD Dog treats to keep Fido calm!
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Make Sure Your Pets Have Clear Identification!

In case of emergency, always ensure your pet has identification, just in case you are separated for any reason during a Louisiana hurricane. Being microchipped is the most reliable form of ID your best friend can have!

Stay Safe and Do NOT Leave Your Pet/ESA Behind!

If you live in a disaster area, make sure you know what to do in times of trouble. Use online tools, watch news updates or contact your local county sheriff’s office for updated information on hurricane movement.

Remember hurricanes mean heavy rain. Chances are that there will be flooding and flood damage to properties when a hurricane hits, so be sure to have adequate flood insurance.

And remember – never leave your pet or ESA behind during a hurricane evacuation! Take them with you to keep them safe.

Traveling with ESAs During a Louisiana Hurricane: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today! 

Don’t leave it to the last minute. Put your mind at ease by taking Certapet’s 5-minute pre-screening today. If the results show that you may qualify for an emotional support animal, CertaPet will put you in touch with a LMHP and you will have your ESA letter in no time!

Common Questions about Traveling with ESAs During a Lousiana Hurricane

Can I take my ESA if I have to evacuate due to a Louisiana hurricane?

Can I evacuate a hurricane by plane from Louisiana with my dog?

What should I take with me for my dog or cat during a hurricane evacuation?

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