LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -If there's a hurricane and emergency officials call for a mandatory evacuation,
Where will you go?
If you don't know, now is the time to decide.
Emergency responders and volunteers are doing their part and encourage the public to as well.
Emergency planners and volunteers gathered at Burton Coliseum to practice. They go through the motions of registering those who need a ride to flee to safety in a hurricane.
Marc Ferguson is an Emergency Response Specialist with the Calcasieu Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Ferguson says when there is an evacuation people need to go.
"There was a survey done after hurricane Rita of all the people that stayed and most of them said they would never ever do it again because they were scared to death," said Ferguson.
The drill includes evaluating medical issues to decide which shelter.
Angela Jouett is the director of the Calcasieu Medical Reserve Corps.
"We find out their medical needs and which particular shelter they would go to because we have different shelters, the general population shelter and we also have special needs shelter," said Jouett.
The system helps keep track of people who come through.
"In case a family member is looking for them, we'll have a way of knowing where they are by their arm band. There's a bar code," said Ferguson.
A reminder: those who need transportation should bring important papers and prescription medicine. But if possible, avoid having to stay in a shelter.
Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh is the regional medical director of the Louisiana Office of Public Health.
“It’s not exactly a stay at the Hilton, it’s still a shelter. Don’t let coming to a transportation shelter, having to get shipped out with, don’t make this your plan,” she said.
There's always a need for volunteers--but they are asked to register ahead of time since real emergencies are chaotic enough. To register call the Calcasieu Medical Reserve Corps at 337-249-1039.
Those who know they must rely on government help to evacuate are urged to sign up on CalcaShout.
In a real evacuation, people can bring pets, but owners should bring papers showing last rabies shot. The pets are transported separately from the people.
For more information on how to prepare for an evacuation click here