NELA holds its largest flood prep training


(4/6/19)–  Sterlington Park transformed into what looked like a military base.

Dozens of soldiers from Louisiana’s National Guard came out to practice for flooding preparations with local agencies. The annual training– run by the governor’s office– was a first for northeastern Louisiana.

  “What we’re excited really about today is this is the first time we had a major portion of the exercise,” said Neal Brown, director of homeland security in Ouachita Parish.

The training covered a ton of ground. From simulating boat rescues with the help of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to practicing saving real life dogs with the Department of Agriculture and Animal Rescue, the training was thorough and diverse.

But the most important part of it all–communication.

  “In past disasters, we’ve had problems communicating between agencies. So, this is a perfect opportunity for all these agencies to get together, to be able to communicate and to work through these scenarios as a team because that’s how we’ll be working in the real world,” said Lt. Col. Tony Dorsa, F28 engineer battalion commander.

As emergency responders prepare for the worst, Brown recommends the public do the same.

  “Make a plan as to what you would do if we had flooding and the most important thing, I always like to put out everytime is real simple: turn around, don’t drown.” said Brown.

The practice not only helps local agencies navigate in times of flooding emergencies, but trains younger soliders who have not yet experienced these situations in real life.

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