The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared the week of May 22-28 as Hurricane Preparedness week. As June 1st approaches, Parish residents are encouraged to begin preparing for 2011 season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued an above average seasonal outlook for hurricanes in the Atlantic basin. The current forecast includes 12-18 named storms. Although this outlook does not predict where the storm may hit, residents and business owners should take the necessary steps now- such as developing a disaster plan before a hurricane or disaster strikes.
The Parish is updating their notification systems to enhance communication with the public. Residents can sign up for E-News updates at www.sjbparish.com/newsletter.php and FirstCall Notifications at http://www.alertregistration.com. During an emergency, notifications and updates will also be posted on the St. John Parish website. “It is important that we are able to notify the public of updates in a timely manner, it is especially important during an emergency that we have the ability to provide residents with accurate and updated information,” stated Parish President Natalie Robottom.
In addition, the Parish has conducted training for staff that are first responders, implemented the Phoenix Registration and Tracking system which allows the tracking of residents that have been evacuated and housed in North Louisiana. The Parish has also updated operational plans that will ensure the continual operation of critical infrastructure in the event of an emergency.
Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered, flashlight, extra batteries, medicines, non-perishable food, a hand-operated can opener, utility knives and first aid supplies. Important documents should be stored in a waterproof bag. This may include medical records, contracts, deeds, banking information, insurance records and birth certificates. For more information on how you can get prepared for hurricane season, go to www.getagameplan.org.