Pups and their humans rescued from Red River tributary

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By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

(This was a GOHSEP training exercise)

Three dogs and their four humans were rescued after their boat became incapacitated while on a jaunt down a tributary of the Red River Friday, April 5.

No dogs or people were injured in the incident.  Members of search and rescue teams responded and got everyone safely to the Grand Ecore Boat Launch where EMS, animal shelter and Natchitoches Humane Society personnel, sheriff’s deputies, professional and volunteer firefighters, the Cajun Navy, La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries and the National Guard, among others, were on standby.

That was the scene Friday during a mock disaster response exercise coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the  Louisiana National Guard. Repeat, it was a training exercise.

The scene was a simulation of a tropical depression that caused the Village of Clarence to flood.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ arrived to view the coordination of  20 agencies including local, state and federal first responders and volunteers who coordinated their actions with the new NATCOM (Natchitoches Communications) center. Edwards said the need to train this far north following a hurricane was because the damages and rainfall do not cease once one makes landfall.

Once Edwards arrived, participants engaged in a full blown simulation First responders acted as if people and pets were stranded in flooded locations. The scene involved multiple rescue units as well as a high water vehicle provided by the National Guard.

This training is invaluable should the need for actual rescue arise.  Edwards said pets were included in the training because oftentimes, owners will not leave their four legged loved ones behind.  Parish President Rick Nowlin and Sheriff Victor Jones commented on the level of cooperation between all agencies involved.

As they say, a photo speaks a thousand words. Enjoy the gallery as the “rescues” unfold.