Better Business Bureau: Have a plan in place for potential hurricanes

Published 4:18 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Rapidly intensifying storm developments means less time to watch and wait before disaster strikes. Now, more than ever, it’s vital to be prepared for severe weather events, to have a plan in place for a hurricane season with above average predictions.

In the past, Southwest Louisiana had about a 120-hour window from weather development to weather event. Now, it’s 72 hours, Jarod Maze told business owners and leaders at the Better Business Bureau breakfast on Friday.

Southwest Louisiana business owners need two plans – personal plan and business.

Email newsletter signup

Maze, new director of OHSEP (Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Prepardnessintroduced himself and reported on efforts by his department to continue and improve its role of preventing, preparing for, responding to, recovering from and mitigating against man-made or natural disasters that threaten Calcasieu Parish.

It starts with staying informed via a credible weather source.

OHSEP uses modeling from a European center, The Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service, Maze said. “That gives us an operational picture to start preparing our response. “We embed a meteorologist when available.”

OHSEP is working toward better communication between officials and with the public.

“The Department is researching, testing and planning for changes in communications, establishing redundancies so that we can continue to talk to public safety agencies and state and local governments to ensure that we can provide resources for a better response.,” he said.      OSEP will now have a Calcasieu Parish Communication and media department staffer embedded in its emergency operations center to control messaging and get information out faster to the public via news agencies and social media platforms

OHSEP has a mobile office with five workstations with a phone and radio communications at every station, conference room for briefing and two internet service providers and backup capability if either of those providers don’t work. The mobile office will have onboard weather stations and “shoot out cell signals with a device that would allow them to turn other parish locations into a signal-receiving station.

Well qualified for his role, Maze spent 20 years in active duty for the Louisiana Army National Guard, including emergency preparedness and leadership positions.