Citizens should make plans now for hurricane season, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister says

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St. Tammany Parish government is fully prepared for the 2014 hurricane season and citizens need to be equally ready, Parish President Pat Brister said Tuesday (May 27). Brister advised residents not to wait until a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico to begin preparations to ride out the storm or evacuate.

“We encourage everyone to prepare themselves and their families,” Brister said at a news conference at the parish’s Emergency Operations Center in downtown Covington. “Make a plan. Have an evacuation plan in place.

“It’s so difficult when there’s a storm in the Gulf to start putting everything together. So you need to do that now just as we’ve done it here.”

Brister said all parish government departments have reviewed their emergency plans and assigned roles to employees. “We are well prepared. We have everything in place.”

All government buildings and properties have been assessed and are ready for this year’s storm season, which starts June 1, she said. The parish has reached out to special-needs residents to have them register with the parish government so officials will know their locations during an emergency.

Brister encouraged citizens to sign up with Alert! St. Tammany, a parishwide notification system that can broadcast emergency messages to both cellphones and home phones. Registration is available through the parish government website,

Valuable information about hurricane preparedness also can be obtained at, she said.

Citizens should clear drains and culverts around their homes and pick up loose items in yards. Residents should also assess the needs of the elderly in their neighborhoods, she said.

Noting the widespread flooding and damage inflicted by Category 1 Hurricane Isaac in 2012, Brister said residents should not disregard the danger of lower-category storms. “We have learned that lesson that you don’t always look at just the category of a storm. You have to look at many many more things.”

Brister said she is encouraged by forecasters’ predictions of fewer storms this year, but reminded citizens that severe hurricanes can still occur.

“It only takes one to hit the right spot. So we will not let our guard down . . .”

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