FEMA assisting Calcasieu Parish Fire Departments for hurricane season

By Charlie Bartlett - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The hurricane season is upon us but thanks to a grant from FEMA, the Lake Charles Fire Department's eleven stations are now better prepared to help the community after the next storm

After Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, firefighters were extremely busy helping residents recover from the storm.  Before the next storm hits, FEMA is making sure firefighters are safe as well.

"We're very excited that FEMA has seen the need to address our first responders because people don't realize when they leave, we are here. We have to make sure we are protected and make sure once the storm is passed that we have a good place for us to operate at," said Chief David Manuel

"It's an important issue protecting your first responders because they are the people who are able to get out immediately after a disaster, do search and rescue, and do fire protection," said Dick Gremillion.

The FEMA grant program will allow these stations to be built stronger, protecting them from high wind damage.

"Hurricane proof doors providing resistance and shutters covering the windows," said Manuel.

If the doors were damaged, it could cause major problems

"One of the biggest problems with a fire station during high winds is these roll up doors. If they fall on the truck, they can't get the truck out," said Gremillion.

The buildings will be ready so will the first responders.

"We are in the process of viewing our operating plan. We have to make sure we have the decisions in place whether we are going to leave the city or not and where we are going to be staged if we are in the city," said Manuel.

While the buildings will be stronger for the firefighters, residents should also start getting ready.