Emergency response agencies from across the parish were present during CAER Day 2019. This included 33 industrial partners and suppliers.

The Community Awareness Emergency Response organization hosted CAER Day at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, October 23. The one-day event covered a variety of topics allowing emergency responders in Ascension Parish to be better prepared in case of any major incident.

Emergency response agencies from across the parish were present during CAER Day 2019. This included 33 industrial partners and suppliers.

"It's not if we're going to have another big incident in Ascension, it's when. And all of our people need to be able to work together," said James E. LeBlanc, the Ascension Parish CAER Chairman. LeBlanc said CAER Day provides these responders an opportunity to get to know each other before working together.

"It is very important that the emergency response personnel that work inside our parish, that protect our citizens inside our parish, work hand in hand with these industrial emergency response crews," LeBlanc said. "When we're on a scene together it's not the time for us to learn each others' names.

"We need to learn each others' names way before the big incident happens," he said. "Events like this establish the foundation for successful emergency response efforts. Ascension Parish continues to be one of the major leaders in the State of Louisiana when it comes to emergency response."

Incidents that may bring these responders together include petrochemical releases from surrounding chemical facilities, or any major incident that may occur within the parish.

"Sometimes our local fire departments don't have all the resources they need, so they call in all these chemical plants that have major resources that can help us fight these large fires," LeBlanc said.

While these incidents do not occur on a regular basis, LeBlanc believes it is best to be prepared and on the same page.

"That's what this whole entire day is about – it's about getting ready and getting prepared because if we ever have that major incident in Ascension we have to be ready."