State agencies meet on 2012 hurricane response plan

GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis leads a briefing of Louisiana Public Safety agencies about Louisiana’s preparedness for tropical weather. (Source: GOHSEP)
GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis leads a briefing of Louisiana Public Safety agencies about Louisiana’s preparedness for tropical weather. (Source: GOHSEP)

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - State agencies stand ready to respond if tropical weather threatens Louisiana this year.

Public safety officials conducted a "midseason" review of the state's hurricane preparedness efforts on Wednesday.

Officials from the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Louisiana State Police, Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Sheriffs Association met to review the state's preparedness plans as the region enters what is considered by many to be the height of the Atlantic Hurricane season.

GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis said that GOHSEP and its partners stand ready to respond if a storm threatens Louisiana.

"In Louisiana, we know all too well how dangerous and destructive late summer hurricanes can be, which is why we gathered key officials today to discuss the state's plans and preparations for tropical weather," he said.

State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson said that the state must never become complacent.

"Our experience tells us that we must be prepared administratively, logistically and operationally to respond to any type of incident at any time. As state agency partners, we are committed and ready. Are you?," he said.

Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the National Guard said, "I want to ensure that our citizens have confidence when a disaster hits -- the Louisiana National Guard is prepared to respond during any emergency. Louisiana Guardsmen are trained, ready and capable of providing support to our communities and civil responders anywhere in the state, at the direction of the Governor."

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said that wildlife agents are prepared to respond as needed in coastal parishes, as well as any inland parishes, that may be impacted by tropical storm surge or flooding produced by heavy rainfall.

"Search and rescue training is part of each agent's annual training regimen," he said.

August and September have traditionally been active times for hurricanes to affect Louisiana.

Since 2005, the state has responded to four major, destructive hurricanes at this point in the season: Katrina (Aug. 29, 2005), Rita (Sept. 24, 2005), Gustav (Sept. 1, 2008) and Ike (Sept. 13, 2008).

Earlier in the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a "near normal" Atlantic Hurricane Season, with between nine and 15 named storms, of which four to eight could strengthen to a hurricane, with the possibility of one to three of these storms becoming a major hurricane, ranking Category 3 or above.

Since May, there have been four named storms – Alberto, Beryl, Chris and Debby – that have threatened the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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