BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — We’re in the midst of hurricane season but preparations never stop, and in Livingston Parish, local leaders are preparing for the next disaster.
At the educational emergency response summit, hosted by State Representative Buddy Mincey, leaders laid out what improvements they would be implementing for this hurricane season. Much of it boiled down to communication.
“Every one of our streets and the town of Livingston during Hurricane Ida were impassable, either power lines or trees,” said Livingston Mayor Jonathan Taylor.
Last year, the state took a big hit, but Mayor Taylor said local agencies came together to pick the communities back up.
“In a matter of 24 hours, every street was passable,” said Taylor.
He said having a quick response is important so organizations are working to bounce back stronger and better this year.
“Making sure culverts are clean, ditches are clean, our canals are clean just to get water out. If it is a water thing, if it’s a windstorm, we know who to contact,” he explained.
“Usually the first 24 hours are the most critical. The state can’t get in here to us most of the time because you have things that are blocked up, roads may be closed, trees down,” said Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
Ard said he and his team are focusing on staying self-sufficient for at least a day.
“To take care of these deputies, to take care of making sure they have food and water, they have the equipment they need to do their job, and to make sure we’re playing well with the other agencies and not relying on resources coming in here for 24 hours.”
A common theme across the board was having stronger communication when a storm hits.
“We make sure we have synchronized and coordinated efforts and then leaders at all levels, really just maintaining that communication and that shared responsibility for the response. The worst case is, if we’re late to the need you know, there is a need out there and we can’t fill it,” he said Louisiana National Guard Deputy J-7 Kevin Middelton.
“You have to have that in. When we have these little meetings because we learn a lot from each other and we just want to all be on the same page and we kind of go over kind of lessons learned,” added Ard.
Local leaders encourage residents to have an emergency plan in place for if and when the disaster hits.