St. Bernard Parish Office of Homeland Security meets with agencies to review plans for the Critical Transportation Needs Evacuation Exercise

The Evacuation Exercise is set for Wednesday, May 24th at the Sigur Civic Center.

John Rahaim, St. Bernard Parish Emergency Manager, speaks to partner agencies about an upcoming evacuation exercise. On Wednesday, May 24th, St. Bernard Parish will be testing its Critical Transportation Needs (CTN) and Special Medical Needs (SMN) programs. These programs are designed to assist those in need of transportation during an evacuation and cannot self-evacuate due to lack of resources, transportation or medical conditions. “To be successful, it takes more than just parish personnel. Support also comes from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Louisiana National Guard and Air Guard, United States Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Transportation Development (DOTD) American Red Cross, Acadian Ambulance, St. Bernard Parish Hospital, St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT),” said John Rahaim.

For this exercise, the parish buses pick up “evacuees” and bring them to the Parish Pick-up Point (PPP). Upon arrival at the PPP they will be processed by the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office and the Air National Guard to insure that no weapons, alcohol or other contraband are brought in. “The safety of the residents and workers is of utmost importance”, said Rahaim.

The “evacuees” will be registered by the use of the Phoenix Evacuation Registration System provided by DCFS. This system maintains accountability of the evacuees from the time they are registered until they arrive at the shelter location. Processing is done by parish personnel from Community Development with assistance from DCFS personnel. Once registered, “evacuees” then report to a waiting area. Once all “evacuees” have been processed they are loaded on buses by Parish employees and DOTD personnel. The buses that transport the “evacuees” are provided by DOTD. The “evacuees” are then transported to a pre-designated shelter. These exercises are used to identify areas of improvements. This will help to better serve the residents in the future should the need arise.