NOLA Ready: All in for hurricane preparedness
Posted by PA2 Bill Colclough, Friday, June 8, 2012
Coming this summer:
Cats, dogs, frogs and locusts drop from the sky. Tractor trailers tumble through the air. And, sometimes, like supersonic bullets, nails from the boards of boarded-up windows are thrust through trees with .44-caliber Magnum force, as the wind rips and tears at speeds of more than 100 mph.
In the aftermath, a single, faint waterline left on houses and buildings, like a dirty bath ring, testify to how the end was not near, but, rather, the end was here – for a time.
A blockbuster like no other, the damages far exceed any box office tally. This is not a movie or a trailer for one, but it is a test, albeit a dramatic one. The test is clear: before you bug out, be ready.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2012, which runs from May 27-June 2, kicked off the official start of storm season on the Gulf Coast. At the Port of New Orleans on the first day of hurricane season, the Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , the Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, and various local parish presidents conducted a joint news briefing for the NOLA Ready hurricane preparedness event.
Seven years seem like seven days ago to the residents of the Gulf Coast when New Orleans experienced the horrendous damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. One could say fear and loathing in the Crescent City is the mere reflex to even mention the “h-word” after June 1.
To help residents get ready, the Coast Guard, Army Corps and the city and parishes emphasized the importance of shared preparedness.
“Every person can help reduce risks,” said Capt. John Arenstam, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “Be able to help us find you and take responsibility for your safety by having marine-band radios, life jackets and flares. Listen to the warnings from the National Weather Service and all marine forecasts.”
For the New Orleans District of the Army Corps, Col. Ed Fleming offered three reminders for the public:
Public safety is priority No. 1.
Local, state and federal partnerships are paramount, as it is a town effort.
Listen to local officials; have your house raised and have a full tank of gas.
Even with a full tank of gas in a boat, mariners should not go out to sea in a recreational boat to “ride out” a hurricane. The joint agencies echoed similar themes and tips for mariners for the upcoming hurricane season such as:
- Know your local and national weather sources and monitor them continuously.
- Be aware that storms move quickly and are unpredictable.
- Watch out for, and report, oil, gasoline or chemical spills to the Coast Guard and local emergency agencies.
If a named storm or a close relative of Katrina does roll in this year, the NOLA Ready agencies recommend the public not hesitate, spectate or wait for authorities to help. There are no sidelines or bleachers on the storm front for people to sit back, pop a cold one and enjoy the show. Get ready is not a slogan; it is a personal responsibility. And, authorities recommend everyone share the responsibility for preparedness.
Listen, watch, prepare and secure boats, trailers and all loose items, else folks could wake up to a junkyard jambalaya of trucks, trailers, splintereed plywood and the occasional farm implement. This is just a preview, but it’s summer. It’s … that season. The NOLA Ready agencies are all in.