Calcasieu emergency planners practice for hurricane - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Calcasieu emergency planners practice for hurricane

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So, what happens if there's a hurricane and you need to get out of Lake Charles and go somewhere safer?

Local emergency officials hope you have a plan to take care of yourself and your family. Today, they practiced  for those who do not have a plan.

The Lake Charles Civic Center is the place to go for those who cannot get out of town when an evacuation order is issued. They would come to the Civic Center to catch a bus to go somewhere safer.

The process has come a long way since those scary days of Katrina when so many had no idea where their loved ones had been sent. Angela Jouett, with Calcasieu Medical Reserve Corps, explains the process starts with wrist bands.

"When they go to register, that wrist band is logged into the computer and a manifest is made, and in that manifest, when they board that bus, that goes with them to the shelter.   So, they will know who is on that bus, where they went and it's on a data base. Volunteer evacuees were processed through the system to make sure it flows well," said Jouett.

As well, nowadays, people can bring pets with them to go to a shelter if they meet requirements as Emergency Response Coordinator Rob Daughdril explained. 

"If the pet is small enough and in a kennel, and can ride on a person's lap, they can ride with them to the shelter and then they'll be put in a shelter area for pets adjacent to the general population shelter. If they can't be put on their laps they're placed in a pet carrier, placed on a truck and brought to the shelter," said Daughdril.

In a real life event,  the process of transferring those with no transportation to shelters, would take one day. That's so volunteers also have time to get out of town.  

Incident commander Marc Ferguson said the drill always helps them find ways to improve.

"I think it went well. Each time we learn. We made a few changes this year to  make things work better. The overall flow of things went well," said Ferguson.

An estimated 150 people participated in this year's drill. In real life, they are equipped to process about 3,000 people at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

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