City emergency officials urge residents to finalize storm plans

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- Inside the New Orleans Emergency Operations Center, Wednesday, things remained fairly quiet.

However, with a tropical depression now churning in the Atlantic, officials are keeping an eye on the situation. It's a reminder, officials said, that the height of storm season is approaching.

'Do you have your to-go bag? Are you ready to go? Do you know where you're gonna go? Do you know how you're gonna get there? Do you know how you're gonna notify loved ones if you have to evacuate?' said Col. Jerry Sneed, N.O. Emergency Preparedness Director.

Sneed said they're important questions throughout each storm season, especially moving into August.

For residents who need help evacuating, officials need to know.

'Even if they've signed up before, last year, we're asking our citizens to reapply this year, so we make sure we have good numbers,' Sneed said. 'We have a good plan, but if all of a sudden we get 10,000 more people that nobody was ready for -- with buses or shelters, we're gonna be in trouble.'

Officials say more than 22,000 people are registered for city-assisted evacuations, a program that was first tested during Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

New Orleans residents can sign up by calling 311, or through the NOLA Ready website at http://new.nola.gov/ready.

There are 17 pick-up points across the city and, in the event of an evacuation, volunteers will be manning the locations to help residents.

As of now, the group Evacuteer.org has more than 400 volunteers trained and ready to assist in a variety of ways.

'Things like registration, baggage handling and any of the minor details that could come up in between,' said David Morris, president of the Evacuteer.org Executive Leadership Committee.

Morris said the group is hoping to recruit more volunteers, and there are several training sessions scheduled during August and September.

For more information, go to www.evacuteer.org.


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