Residents urged to sign up for alerts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011



LAPLACE – Late August to early September is traditionally considered the peak of hurricane season, so St. John the Baptist Parish officials are stressing the importance of staying connected to news and information from the parish in the event of an emergency.

Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said the parish’s emergency preparedness department is making a push to get more residents to sign up for email and text updates through the First Call Interactive Network. Braud explained the system can be utilized to call, text, and email residents with news and information regarding a weather event or emergency, but residents must sign up through the parish’s website. She said only about 800 residents have signed up for the service.

“Communication will be key during a potential weather event, and I would like our residents to know what our lines of communication will be,” Braud said. “We want all of our residents to know what is out there, and we want them to have the most updated information, but not enough people are taking advantage of the service.”

In addition to the First Call registration, which can be found on the left hand side of the parish’s website under “important links,” Braud said residents may also sign up for regular emails of news updates and releases from the parish.

Braud said during a weather event that may affect the region, parish officials and administrators will meet twice a day, and updates are released following each meeting that include notes on what was discussed and if any plans have changed. All the information is sent to media outlets, but residents can also have access to the releases by signing up for email alerts on the parish website.

“In the event of a power outage, we will rely on the news media to get the information out, but we also want our residents to know ahead of time so there is time to prepare,” Braud said.

The parish has also created an “event specific” emergency webpage where residents can click on a specific storm or other emergency event and see all of the updated information immediately.

Braud said the parish also recently started mailing out a hurricane brochure attached with residential water bills.

She said many residents use automatic draft and may not open their bills each month, so the parish is asking residents to look out for it.

“They are attached with the most recent bill,” Braud said. “The brochure contains a great deal of information about preparing and what to do in the event of a storm.”

To sign up for First Call and email updates, visit the parish website at and click on the link.