New Orleans USCG prepares for hurricane season

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With hurricanes season underway, local and national leaders want everyone to take proper precautions and make sure emergency plans are finalized. The U.S. Coast Guard makes their own plans in terms of preparing, rescuing and repairing.

Just as emergency responders tell everyone to be prepared with supplies in case a storm comes, the USCG also prepares with materials of their own.

Monday on the Michoud Canal, the USCG showed FOX 8 how one of their cutters was prepared with wood pilings that can be drilled down in order to build structures that, for example, surround navigational buoys to keep them in place.

A crane sits right on top of the boat, and it's able to lift the pilings to get them in the water where they need to be.

The USCG's first priority during a storm is search and rescue.

"We'll go ahead and assist with the state, local, and federal agencies on that response. Once that is past and clear, then we'll look into recovery efforts as far as trying to bring up the water ways, verifying aids and rebuilding. This way we can get all of our port users back and so the economy's not hit hard by it," said New Orleans USCG Pamlico Unit Commanding Officer Stephen Burke.

Though their main message, in order to keep everyone safe, is to heed to all warning messages and stay on top of weather alerts which tell everyone when to evacuate. The USCG may not be able to perform search and rescue missions during the height of a storm.

"Most of the time, if we've got a storm that's going to hit into the local area we'll look at 72 hours out to actually recalling the crew, getting the cutter under way and going to a safe haven for preparedness to be able to come back and recover after the height of the storm," said Burke.

The USCG works with many other authorities and agencies to fulfill their mission responsibilities during and after a storm.

Over the next few days they'll be taking the cutter out to replace the navigational buoys that have been damaged over the past year by commercial ships or other small storms.

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