Computer program leads to award for parish

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 23, 2001


PHOTO: Emergency Operations staff members for St. Charles Parish were recognized at Monday’s parish council meeting, including, from left, George Guedry, Aaron Ertel, Brandon Touchard, Laurie Adams and director Tab Troxler. Other staff members honored were James Polk, Jason Tastet and Dee Matherne. (Staff Photo by Leonard Gray) NEW ORLEANS – St. Charles Parish’s commitment to emergency planning earned for itself recognition recently from the Bureau of Governmental Research during the Excellence in Government Awards. In a ceremony at the Pimlico Club in the World Trade Center, director Tab Troxler accepted a $250 Ochsner Award, one of seven presented. The staff of the parish emergency operations center was nominated by Councilwoman Dee Abadie. What spurred the nomination was the crafting of a computer database program by the EOC staff to highlight the possibility of hazards for every residence and business in the parish from flooding, train derailments and chemical releases. The program has been used four times during 2000, including for a railroad accident and industrial accidents. The database has revolutionized the emergency preparedness effort in St. Charles Parish by allowing large amounts of urgent data to be stored and processed quickly. Through the use of the database, the staff can determine which alarms to activate, which streets to close, and which facilities such as schools, daycare centers, nursing homes and hospitals to contact.” At Monday’s parish council meeting, Troxler acknowledged the staff, and led the applause for their dedication and hard work. Staff members include Laurie Adams, Aaron Ertel, George Guedry, Dee Matherne, James Polk, Jason Tastet and Brandon Touchard. “What made this award so special was to see the sparkle in the boss’ eyes,” Troxler said of Parish President Albert Laque. “This parish, without a question, made emergency planning a top priority.” Troxler was quick to recognize his predecessor, John “Ikey” Lucas of Norco, who fought for the establishment of the EOC in conjunction with the establishment of the Waterford 3 nuclear power plant. Lucas, likewise, is a recognized pioneer in emergency planning, having developed many of the plans and procedures now used nation-wide. Troxler also thanked parish administrations past and present, along with council and police jury members who have supported emergency planning. “We’ve always been given so much support,” he said. He also acknowledged the cooperation and support of the sheriff’s office, school district, hospital and volunteer fire departments. Co-sponsors of the Excellence in Government Awards include BellSouth, Hibernia National Bank and Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation.