NEW ORLEANS — Contending with an unusual scenario, Jefferson Parish Director of Emergency Management Joseph Valiente said the parish has begun following hurricane protocols, like securing work sides and checking equipment.
“It will be interesting to see what two storms do in the Gulf,” said Valiente. “We’re in a standby wait and see mode, but we’re 110% storm ready right now.”
In New Orleans, it’s a similar story. The city sent out an alert letting folks know storms are being monitored and urging preparation.
“Any time storms enter the Gulf we have to look at it, as emergency managers, as they’re going somewhere,” said New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Colin Arnold.
With the Gulf Coast as a captive audience, Arnold says it’s time to pay attention, even though it’s still too early to know where those storms are going.
“This is the time for people, while we have the time to be deliberate and to really start thinking about their planning,” said Arnold.
That’s planning that now includes COVID-19.
“If you’re waiting until the last minute to prepare for a Hurricane, be it with COVID, be it naturally in Southeast Louisiana, you’re already behind the curve,” said Robert Allen, professor at Tulane’s School of Professional Advancement
In addition to things like batteries, water and medication, Allen says things like masks, wipes and sanitizer are also important this hurricane season. Also, keep social distancing in mind should an evacuation happen.
“COVID is going to add that extra ‘enth to the equation that people need to start looking at,” said Allen.
For folks living near Gulf waters, Valiente said plans of action are especially important.
“They have to start preparing now. They have to get their plan ready. They have to figure out a destination,” said Valiente.
Emergency leaders said acting now can save lives in the future.
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