City, Parish leaders to host joint press conference on emergency preparedness efforts

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The City of Natchitoches announces there will be a joint press conference Monday, May 17 at 2 p.m. at the Natchitoches Council Chambers, 716 Second St.
Mayor Ronnie Williams and Parish President John Richmond will address the citizens of Natchitoches Parish on local emergency preparedness efforts as the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1. It ends Nov. 30.
This article published in the May 15-16, 2021, print edition
Mayor Williams stated, “I took the oath of office only two days before Hurricane Laura. I assume Laura looms ominously in our memory, and history will forever record it as one of the most devastating storms in Louisiana’s history to have made landfall. An event such as this helps to make one keenly aware of the necessity to strategically plan for the next natural disaster. As one emergency professional noted, ‘The most effective way to prepare for any emergency is to prepare for it before it happens.’ That’s precisely why I am asking members every household in Natchitoches to develop a plan that will adequately prepare their family for the next big natural disaster.”
“May 9-15 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and now more than ever, Natchitoches Parish residents realize how vulnerable we are to increased storm frequency and intensity,” Richmond concurred. “Hurricanes Laura and Delta did damage to structures, timber, roads, drainage structures, bridges and our electrical infrastructure. Along with the ice storm earlier in 2021 that caused significant damage to our water systems, we have all learned that while the people of Natchitoches Parish are resilient, our infrastructure is not as resilient as it should be.”
The City of Natchitoches’ IT Department has, with consultation from public safety professionals on both the City and Parish levels, added an Emergency Preparedness section to the City’s website that chronicles how residents can establish a “game-plan” for emergency situations.
“We should all be preparing for storms we hope do not come, and planning for recovery efforts we hope are not needed.  I encourage every resident of Natchitoches Parish to prepare by ensuring you have an adequate supply of drinking water, non-perishable food items and medications. You should also have a plan for those family members who may have medical conditions that require powered medical devices or require medical respiratory equipment,” Richmond said.
Additionally, the City has partnered with Regroup, a mass notification messaging service, to help the administration disseminate information more seamlessly to residents during times of crises. “To that end, I am encouraging every resident to download the Regroup app to bolster the flow of information during both emergency and non-emergency circumstances,” Williams said.
Richmond added, “Perhaps the most important part of any preparedness plan is communication.  Know the projected path of all storms and communicate this information to others.  Make sure all cell phones are charged, and that you communicate often with those friends, relatives and neighbors who may need your assistance during a difficult time.”
“Furthermore, everyone should take advantage of the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday which is set for May 30-31 to purchase disaster preparedness supplies in preparation for potential emergencies,” said Williams.
Instructions will be provided to citizens on how to sign up for the mass notification messaging service during the press conference as well as at www.natchitochesla.gov and facebook page, @CityOfNatchitoches.
Call 911 for any medical emergency needs. All non-medical emergency calls should be directed to 911, such as downed power lines, flooding, road and bridge issues.
For more information on Regroup or emergency conditions in the City, contact the Mayor’s office at (318) 352-2772.
Our resiliency comes from our care for each other, and our strength comes from our desire to make tomorrow better than today.  Let’s work together to do our part to strengthen our parish before, during and after every storm.