Home Depot holds hurricane preparedness workshops at 700 stores

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Don't wait until a hurricane is heading your way to start thinking about disaster preparedness. That was the message Home Depot had as the company put on workshops at 700 of its stores along the coast from Maine to Texas on Saturday.

The Harris family had a leisurely trip to the Biloxi Home Depot store on Saturday, but there was a time when they came in a frantic last minute search for hurricane supplies.

"Crazy. Crazy," said Jennifer Harris of Vancleave. "The last time we had to do it was for Katrina. My little one, she was only 19-days-old. My other one was 19-months-old. So trying to do that by myself and not finding anything that we needed was really really hard."

The Home Depot hopes its workshops will encourage people to get what they need early rather than right before a storm makes landfall.

"That mad rush of 500 people trying to get a generator 12 hours out from a storm is stressful and it's tough," said Dan Pahl, store manager. "Particularly people who are in situations where they have medical issues. Infirmed and that sort of thing where you may have to have power in your home. Thinking about a generator now rather than at the last minute alleviates a lot of stress. It alleviates a lot of the anxiety when a storm comes."

The Home Depot asked community partners like the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, the Humane Society of South Mississippi and others to help out passing along information.

Pahl said "We're just coming into storm season. It's starting to ramp up. We have a lot of new residents. There are a lot of transient residents who are new to the coast, and it's hard to know what to do in event of a storm."

Carlos Cuevas lost his home in Waveland to Hurricane Katrina. Nowadays, his family makes sure they have what the need for the hurricane season. "I think it's great. I think it's very informative because a lot of people don't have that ability to reach out and get this information," said Cuevas.

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