May 24, 2010 7:21 PM by Melissa Hawkes

St. Martin Launches Emergency Notification System

.           Hurricane season kicks off in just a week and officials in Acadiana want to make sure that everyone is prepared for what is predicted to be an active season.


With hurricane season almost here, some parishes are turning to technology to help them keep people informed.


The Assistant Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Terry Guidry, said  "whatever way your live your life--whether it's telephone communication, text message, whatever you like."


St. Martin Parish is implementing a new program this year. It allows messages about emergencies to be sent out to everyone that signs up online to receive them.


"It's getting to a point where government is so taxed right now,” Guidry said.  “It's left up to them to take care of themselves. They are going to have to participate and make sure they are taking care of themselves."


Guidry doesn't know exactly how the program will be set up yet... but Jeff Davis Sheriff Rickey Edwards may be able to give him some advice.


Edwards said, "It’s a great community tool, it really alerts people and we can get that message out as quickly as possible that way."


An alert program in Jeff Davis has been in place since 2006 when Hurricane Rita left officials unable to connect with people in the parish.


"We needed a way to send messages, well the first thing that happened was the cell sites were so overburdened that you couldn't even make a phone call,” he said. “One thing that was trite and true was text messaging.”


Edwards said once a hurricane enters the gulf, they start sending out alerts.  He said it’s important to “get that message out to what is happening out here and when it's safe to come back and so forth."


              People can start getting prepared this weekend.... it's the Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. If you purchase emergency supplies on either Saturday or Sunday, then you won't have to pay the four-percent state sales tax.


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