To fully prepare for a disaster like Hurricane Katrina or the tornado which virtually destroyed Moore, Okla.
is probably next to impossible. Following Tuesday night's severe thunderstorm, Homeland Security Director James Mardis discussed the level of preparedness of the residents of Bastrop in case of a natural disaster.
“We are as prepared as anyone in north Louisiana,” Mardis said.
Mardis said that he felt that residents are mostly self-sufficient and have been for years, but in times of true disaster, the Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office has the resources to help. Tuesday night, Mardis reported that there were many citizens with their own chainsaws helping to clear debris. The Morehouse Police Department had several deputies on duty with chainsaws to assist where needed.
In case of a more serious natural disaster, Mardis went over other measures the Sheriff's Office would have at their disposal. There is a search and rescue response team the Sheriff's Office can reach out to. They have a shelter at the old Walmart and can setup more local shelters if needed. The Sheriff's Office has cots for up to 30 people and portable generators. More supplies are available through the Red Cross in Monroe during emergencies. Mardis said that all of the nearby parishes would help provide resources to help each other out in the event of a disaster.
“I would advise everyone to buy some type of weather alert system. The majority of storms happen at night while people are sleeping. Residents need to have some way to be alerted so that they can seek shelter, ” Mardis said. “It would be a good idea to prepare a disaster kit with your family in case of emergency.”
For tips on being prepared for a disaster, visit www.gohsep.la.gov or www.getagameplan.org.