It's time to make a hurricane game plan

08 14, 2017 by Chris John | The Daily Advertiser

As we find ourselves in the 2017 hurricane season, it’s hard not to recall the devastation that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought to all of South Louisiana twelve years ago. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike followed just three years later. I want to again express my sorrow for the people of Acadiana who suffered losses and still feel the effects of these disasters today.

So much has changed since these events. The Department of Natural Resources has created a fuels team, to better coordinate gasoline supplies prior to, during, and after an emergency. Yet there are still encumbrances by Federal laws and EPA rules. The Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Public Safety have developed emergency orders that allow industry to react quickly to these events and handle the federal obstacles. The State of Louisiana has greatly improved their disaster preparation and response capabilities.

Unfortunately, it is that time of year again. While it is predicted to be an above normal storm year, one must always remember that Hurricanes Andrew and Betsy were in “slow” years. All it takes is one storm. And as we recently learned in Hurricane Isaac, a small storm can wreak much havoc; and havoc to you is havoc to the industry’s employees and their families too. We are all in this together.

So, it is time for homes and businesses to make a Game Plan. The state has an excellent web site to assist with what you may want to consider. If you are concerned about the vulnerability of your location, contact your parish emergency planning group now. It is better to plan than to react. We saw that ring true just recently in the unexpected flooding that occurred in New Orleans.

The affected industries continually meet with the state agencies to discuss the status going into the hurricane season. It is something that was not done prior to Katrina/Rita. Much has changed in the years since, but the help and support of the public is still so critical to the overall response to these disasters. If we are met with an incident, the state is as prepared as possible –and that is through effective communication between all parties. We are stronger now than ever before. Let’s hope we don’t have to test it.