Hurricane drill prepares volunteers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hurricane drill prepares volunteers

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

It's a beautiful day and no doubt most people are not thinking about hurricanes, except here inside the Lake Charles Civic Center where there's a hurricane evacuation drill. Volunteers are playing evacuee-- that is evacuees arriving not to find shelter from the storm but to arrange transportation to a shelter where they can be safe.

Volunteers are learning register evacuees and get them safely on their way as Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness Response Coordinator Lennie LaFleur explains. "We have a drill every year to get people updated on training on the software program we use for registration which is called Phoenix, also to practice all of our skills."

LaFleur says they also train to help people with special needs. "If you have medical special needs you go on the medical special needs side of registration. Those people that have any type of medical special needs that need to be taken care of whether it be wheelchair or medical problems we have a triage nurse that actually takes care of that."

Jo Anne Epling from Friendships along with their youth volunteer "Seahawks" were among the pretend evacuees here.  In a hurricane they wold help the real evacuees.  Says Jo Anne, "It's a very good process. We're just learning ourselves what we need to help others to do."

One of the reasons they have drills like this is so volunteers can get a sense of what it's like in a real emergency. "Emotions would be high, there would be a lot of distress with people. Just doing this today, we'll have an idea of what happens and how we'll be able to help people."

Incident commander Angela Jouett says they can always use more volunteers but prefer they register ahead of time. "One thing we do not want in an event is a lot of spontaneous volunteers, which seems to happen. So, the volunteers that we have, we like to have them trained and ready to go because it does keep an operation running very smoothly if you know what you're doing, especially in the medical field because we can get you pre-credentialed and get your license checked and know that you can actually work the event."

In the process they look for ways to better prepare and hope members of the public will too. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the calcasieu medical reserve corps call 721-4020

They're going through a scenario to get evacuees processed in order to send them on to shelters where they would be safe from a storm. Incident commander Angela Jouett says it's a good exercise for their volunteers who they prefer to be pre-registered and trained rather than just show up in an emergency. "One thing we do not want in an event is a lot of spontaneous volunteers, which seems to happen. So, the volunteers that we have, we like to have them trained and ready to go because it does keep an operation running very smoothly if you know what you're doing, especially in the medical field because we can get you pre-credentialed and get your license checked and know that you can actually work the event."

Jouett says they always need more volunteers. Anyone interested should call 721-4020.

Watch for more on the drill on later editions of KPLC 7News.

Copyright 2011KPLC.All rights reserved.

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