ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- Governor Bobby Jindal has declared this week "Severe Weather Awareness Week" across the state- and with the chance for severe weather tonight in Cenla it's never too soon to prepare. News Channel 5's Rachael Penton takes a look at how emergency weather information is relayed to the public, and what you can do to keep your family safe.
Central Louisiana is no stranger to severe weather- from ice storms to hurricanes. When it comes to disseminating important severe weather information it all starts here at the local Office of Emergency Preparedness.
"During disasters when we have to activate the emergency operations we break this room down into an EOC or Emergency Operations Center," says Sonya Wiley-Gremillion, Executive Director of the Rapides Office of Emergency Preparedness.
"Public officials from the school board to the sheriff's office meet with the staff of the Office of Emergency Preparedness to make decisions on how to respond to certain disasters."
"Your local emergency response agencies are there for emergencies that are life or property threatening and disasters," adds Wiley-Gremillion.
Once the OEP gets the information to these public agencies, it trickles down to us- the media- so that we can inform you of things like school and road closures.
"We kind of serve as the hub of public information that goes to you guys. We give you updates on the status of our shelters and our roads and so forth and so on."
Officials say you should be prepared before any disaster strikes so that you'll be ready to handle all of the information that comes your way.
"Have a plan, practice the plan, and then be ready for it. Have your materials, supplies stockpiled and any kind of medications you might need," says Harry Foster, Region 6 OEP Director.
They say it's necessary to plan ahead to keep your family safe.
"During a widespread event help may not be able to get to you as quickly as it would on a day to day."
And to keep your peace of mind, when disaster strikes.
"There's a multitude of things that people can do to minimize not only their loss but their levels of anxiety during disasters," adds Wiley-Gremillion.
Now is a good time to check the batteries in your weather radios- in order to make sure you get the latest alerts. You can also download our free weather app, by searching for KALB WX in your app store.