Besides comparing statistics from several memorable hurricanes such as Camille, Andrew, Katrina, and Gustav, MOHSEP discussed the importance of effective flood mitigation during a hurricane or storm.
Flood mitigation involves managing the effects of flooding, rather than trying to prevent it altogether. The three benefits of flood management are that it creates safer communities, enables communities to recover rapidly from disasters, and lessens financial impact, explained Jones.
MOHSEP has also launched Red Stick Ready, a public outreach campaign to provide critical information to the citizens of EBRP, Zachary and surrounding areas to help them prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergency situations.
“Our job starts way before the storm arrives.” said White. “We monitor supplies for city parish, then state and federal governments.”
After Gustav, MOHSEP served over 10,800 meals from its point of distribution sites and housed an average of 50 people for seven days including members of the National Guard, Jefferson Parish employees, and Air Guardsmen.
The Emergency Operations Center for MOHSEP has five main areas it focuses on during a disaster: Crisis management, situational awareness, public information, resource management, and coordination.
The EOC also has an uninterrupted source of power supply in its building, new phones, and computer systems that keeps 24/7 communication with all state and governmental agencies. “Our phones never go out,” said White.
A few helpful pre-disaster planning tips offered by MOHSEP:
•Ensure your family has an effective disaster plan in place.
•Pre-register for emergency food stamps by going to www.dss.louisiana.gov.
•Those who are oxygen dependent must make necessary arrangements several days prior to a storm’s landfall.
For more information on becoming Red Stick Ready, visit www.brgov.com. Also the Zachary Plainsman-News will be featuring more hurricane information throughout the rest of the season in future editions and at www.zacharytoday.com
The 2009 Hurricane Season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.