Editorial: Register yourself and senior relatives for local emergency bulletins

Lisa Yates
Lisa Yates, Editor, Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Here we go again. The 2012 hurricane season is underway.

Forecasters predict 11 to 16 named storms, with 6 to 8 becoming hurricanes, and 3 to 5 becoming what is designated as a major hurricane – a major storm with winds in excess of 111 mph.

Officials say public awareness and preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane. So I followed their advice.

The first thing I did to prepare: I signed up for the parish’s emergency notification system - First Call at www.alertregistration.com/ascensionparish/.

That way when a threat occurs, I’ll receive messages on my cell phone with instructions on what to do and where to go for more information.

The parish also sends out warnings where public health or safety may be endangered: large fires, chemical spills, public water contamination – which can happen if a water main breaks – or certain police activity.

I suggest registering multiple addresses: your home, business, child’s school or daycare, elderly parents’ residences, etc. That way if there is ever an emergency at one of these addresses, you can get a message and take appropriate action.

You won’t get a detailed report – just an alert to turn on your radio or television, or go online, for more information.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do that today.

For those of you unfamiliar, or uncomfortable, using computers, call (225) 621-8360, for assistance in registering for First Call alerts.

For more information on parish emergency notifications and news, get a copy of the Ascension Parish Emergency Guide. The guide is located in the first 16 pages of the EATEL Sunshine Pages phone book, or may be obtained by downloading it from the Ascension Parish Web site’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness page. Go to acensionparish.net and click on the link to OHSEP under the Departments tab.

There’s also a place to follow parish emergency management on FaceBook or Twitter.

The damaging storms that have hit this area tend to blow through later in the summer, but there’s no time like the present to prepare for what may be coming our way.

Lisa Yates is the editor of Gonzales Weekly Citizen. Follow her on Twitter @Lisa_editor.