Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Emergency response teams gather to train for upcoming hurricane season

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BATON ROUGE — With hurricane season nearing, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is gathering emergency response teams from all over the state to get ready for what they could potentially face.

At this meeting, they reviewed old events that happened in Louisiana and use these real-world events to tailor them to fit their own scenario.

One they reviewed was a Category 3 hurricane, but it sped up and came in much faster that anticipated. During the exercise, they have to figure out a plan to respond in each scenario. Afterwards, they create an improvement plan that provides guidance to ensure any challenges they face are address and solved now, during practice, so they don't make any mistakes in the event it really happens.

Calcasieu Parish starts with communicating with their emergency response partners like GOHSEP and the Coast Guard.

"First off, we like to say we're in the monitoring phase. Then we go to the acting phase, and then we start pushing out evacuations if necessary," said Jason Lionberger, an emergency response specialist for Calcasieu Parish.

There are three levels of response — local, federal and state — with each group responding differently. Local teams are the first to arrive when an incident occurs in their parish. If local emergency responders need help, they then contact federal and state responders for assistance.

This is why emergency preparedness officials are practicing scenarios before the season kicks off. They can build relationships with one another and respond in a timely manner as well as help after the hurricane has passed.

"What do we do afterwards. The search and rescue, some of the flood fighting that happens," said Justin Breeding, FEMA Region 6 Exercise Officer. "The resources that are provides both from federal agencies like FEMA, Health and Human Services, U.S Coast Guards, that are all here today from federal partners that are ensuring that our plans and procedures are ready for hurricane season and are in coordination with the state. "

These trainings are to help prepare for hurricane season, but are also used to prepare for events that may occur like last weeks natural disaster.


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