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Thursday, January 26, 2023

St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office Prepares for 2022 Hurricane Season

Photos Courtesy of St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office

From St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office

With the beginning of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season just started, southeast Louisiana residents should begin making plans so they can be prepared if a storm threatens our area. 

Preparing for hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, should be something residents in our area are accustomed to doing, St. Bernard Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

“We should always be mindful of being prepared for hurricane season,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “Remember, we are so close to the Gulf of Mexico, you can’t ignore the possibility of a hurricane.”

With that in mind, Sheriff Pohlmann said, the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office is ready to respond in case there is a storm threatening our area and possibly forcing the evacuation of the parish.

Sheriff Pohlmann said the Sheriff’s Office has a high-water truck that is ideal for rescue or to haul personnel or equipment to respond to a storm. There also are various types of boats that members of the Marine Division and SWAT team train on year-round so they are prepared to immediately patrol neighborhoods in case of any type of rain event flooding.

In addition to equipment, Sheriff Pohlmann said, various departments within the Sheriff’s Office have plans in place and are ready to execute them if need be. 

“In the event that parish government orders an evacuation of residents prior to an approaching storm, we will facilitate those plans and then lock down the parish to prevent non-residents from entering,’’ the Sheriff said.

For our parish to be successful in preparing for a storm, Sheriff Pohlmann said, residents need to do their part as well. 

“That’s true for every family in this parish,’’ the Sheriff said. “Don’t wait until you hear a bad storm is approaching before you think about being prepared, such as whether or not you will leave and where you would go if necessary.’’

In the event of an ordered evacuation, Sheriff Pohlmann said, officers will make extra patrols through neighborhoods, as well as by boat along waterways, if necessary, to protect property in the parish.

“We don’t want residents making a bad decision to stay simply out of concern over a possible burglar,’’ the Sheriff said. 

Residents are encouraged to heed the advice of local officials when it comes to deciding to evacuate or ride out a storm. 

“It reduces the need for search and rescue operations if there was actual flooding in a storm,” the Sheriff said, “and it reduces the possibility of the loss of life.” 

Another way citizens can prepare for hurricane season is to stay informed. 

Residents can register for the parish’s FirstCall Emergency Notification Service which provides timely information about hurricanes and other high profile events occurring in the area. These alerts will go to landlines, cell phones, SMS text messaging devices, email and pagers. For more information, or to register, visit the St. Bernard Parish Government website sbpg.net. 

St. Bernard Parish residents with special needs or those who have no resources to evacuate themselves are eligible for assistance in evacuating should a mandatory evacuation be called in the parish, either due to a hurricane or another type of emergency which might arise. 

Residents can register with the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness by calling 504-278-4268. Information also is available at sbpg.net. Click on Departments, then Homeland Security, then Special Needs Registration.

In the event of an approaching storm, here is a checklist of items to have on hand in a basic emergency supply kit whether you plan to leave or stay to ride out a storm:  

• Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days

• Three-day supply of non-perishable food

• Can opener

• Eating utensils

• First Aid kit

• Cash

• Several complete changes of clothing and footwear per person 

• Cell phones and chargers

• Bedding or sleeping bags

• Fire extinguisher (small canister ABC type)

• Bleach (no lemon or other additives)

• Mosquito repellent

• Tarp, rope, and duct tape

• Toiletries including toilet paper

• Battery-operated radio and extra batteries

• Flashlights and extra batteries

• Sunglasses

• Hand sanitizer and face masks

For families with infants, remember bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, powdered milk and medications.

For adults and others with special needs, don’t forget medicine, such as heart and high blood pressure medication, insulin, prescription drugs, denture needs, contact lenses and supplies and extra eyeglasses.

For pets, have their ID tag, a photo of them for identification purposes, a 7-day supply of food, water, medications, and your veterinarian’s phone number. Don’t leave your pet behind. Transport pets in secure pet carriers and keep pets on leashes. Most emergency shelters do not admit pets. Check with hotels in safe locations and ask if you can bring your pet.

Entertainment, especially for children, is important as well. Have books for adult readers and for children, board games and/or other games that do not require batteries or electricity.

Also, remember to gather your important records in a waterproof, portable container. Include insurance papers or account numbers, an inventory of household goods, checks and credit cards, family records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, and important telephone numbers. 

It’s also a good idea to take photos or a video of your home and its contents before a storm approaches for insurance purposes.

Sheriff Pohlmann hopes this season will be a quiet one for St. Bernard Parish, but it’s best to keep a watchful eye and think smart.

“Let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst,” the Sheriff said. 

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