Parish contracts with group to provide emergency assistance

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 1, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – St. John Parish is working to get all their ducks in a row should a hurricane or other major emergency threaten the area.

During Tuesday’s St. John Council Finance Committee meeting, Paul Oncale, director of public safety and civil defense requested authorization to seek proposals for a group of standby emergency responders to assist the parish in a major crisis.

“Based on what has happened in the past regarding hurricane response in this area, I believe it would be wise to get this going now,” said Oncale to the council. “There would be no fees charged to the parish, the responders would come when they are called to service.”

Parish Spokesman Buddy Boe explained that the idea is a post-Katrina way of thinking that the parish devised. It allows the Office of Emergency Operations to gather information on prices, insurance, and other emergency needs so that the parish knows what to expect in the event of a major storm or other disaster.

“The system gives us an upfront price as far as what it will take to bring people in to help us deal with something like a hurricane,” said Boe. “It sets upfront prices before anything happens so that we are not stuck in a jam when we need help.”

Boe said the idea is something similar to an approved vendor list one would use while planning an event. He said the requests could come from anywhere in the state.

“We’re looking for people that the parish prefers to work with,” said Boe.

The Council approved the measure with a unanimous vote.