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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Dozens of officials from city and state agencies are asking New Orleanians to use common sense and remember many of us are not used to driving on ice.

They are concerned about loss of life, as has happened in other areas.

Nearly 30 city and state officials gathered Monday to tell everyone to be prepared.

'Before I came in here, signed a declaration of emergency for the city of New Orleans,' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

One of the biggest issues will be the roads.

'In Texas, when they had a similar event, there were 1,000 crashes and there were fatalities, and we want to make sure we avoid all of that,' Landrieu continued.

'With this last ice storm, we experienced a 400 percent increase in statewide weather-related crashes,' said Cpt. Donovan Archote of the Louisiana State Police.

Besides staying off of the roads, they warn there could be power outages, some lasting three to five days. Restoring power when it's cold is different than the task after a hurricane.

'Many customers leave their heating systems and appliances turned on, creating too much energy demand all at once. When we try to restore power when an outage occurs, restoring all customers on a given feeder has the potential for instantaneous power demands. And that power demand could be higher than the built-in protective devices that we have,' said Charles Rice, CEO of Entergy.

Power service trucks are already arriving from other areas.

'That's actually occurring as we speak, and we'd like to get the majority of them in tonight, so we'll have them here in place should the storm affect us in the morning,' said Melonie Stewart, director of Customer Service for Entergy.

The Level One Trauma Center at University Hospital (LSU Interim Hospital) has already called in extra staffing, as well as EMS.

'We'll have the increased units out there and we will position them on the West Bank, the Ninth Ward and New Orleans East, areas that we know can be more difficult to get in and out of,' said Dr. Jeffrey Elder, an emergency physician at LSUHSC and Director of New Orleans EMS.

And at the NOPD, no one will be allowed to be off.

'We would remind people who see this as an opportunity to commit a crime, that every single police officer will be working tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. And this will not be any time to take advantage of your neighbors and businesses in the city of New Orleans,' said Chief Ronal Serpas of the NOPD.

The RTA, as well as the airlines may also have some closures. Check on your flights with each airline.

Also, the NOFD warns of the many fire and carbon monoxide poisoning hazards when we use candles, generators, and space heaters to stay warm.

For city updates, click here.

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