COVINGTON, La. (WVUE) - With hurricane season beginning June 1, emergency operations officials in St. Tammany Parish were doing their annual preseason drills on Wednesday. Those drills have taken on a different look due to COVID-19.
For most hurricane preparedness drill’s it’s all hands on deck at emergency operations centers like this one in Covington but this one was different.
The St. Tammany EOC was only 25% full with live participants, but many were hooked up through communications lines which can often break down in hurricanes. Parish officials say they are prepared.
“A lot of different things the enhancement of the communications infrastructure has taken place over the years we can never say never we have inter-operative communications with radios,” said St. Tammany Parish Homeland Security Director Clarence Powe.
Powe says the COVID-19 crisis has made planning and staffing for emergency shelters trickier than ever.
“Instead of opening one shelter on one side of the parish might have to open to shelters and that will give us the ability to allow social distancing between families,” said Powe.
“We want our citizens to enhance their plan, in addition to batteries flashlights and all other things to prepare you’ve got to enhance to include hand sanitizer gloves masks and all other precautions for COVID-19,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper.
Due to COVID-19, social distancing issues St. Tammany officials are urging everyone to start planning for evacuation. Should a storm arise so that you won’t have to go to a crowded shelter where the virus risk may be higher.
To stay on top of the latest hurricane advisories parish officials said you could sign up for alerts at www.stpgov.org.