Hurricane Gustav serves as lesson for locals

Emergency Management Alert, September 1, 2009

Terrebonne Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness in Houma, LA has learned some lessons about emergency preparedness after Hurricane Gustav hit in 2008, reports the After the state's largest public evacuation in history, which took place during massive communication failures, Terrebonne Parish emergency management officials says the experience has helped them jump light-years ahead of where they were in terms of preparedness.

Changes include a new emergency plan and a new office, complete with phone banks, conference rooms and teleconferencing system. The telephone system is housed in an adjacent building designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. In case that doesn't work, they've hooked up lines to the backup emergency base at the South Central Planning and Development Commission, the offices they worked out of during Gustav. This backup is important—electronic communication was down for 30 hours after Gustav.

Other improvements include putting storm contingencies in writing instead of relying on verbal understanding.

To read more about the lessons learned, click here.


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