During April and May, coalition members attended meetings held in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Covington, Gretna, Hahnville, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport.
The coalition is comprised of financial institutions, regulators, emergency personnel, law enforcement, weather service personnel and armored carriers. The primary purpose of the emergency preparedness meetings is to bring together coalition members to foster working relationships that ensure better preparedness for and more effective recovery from an emergency event.
Natural emergencies begin and end locally. In the event of an emergency, decisions are made at the local level; therefore, it is vital that the financial institutions build strong working relationships with their local law enforcement and emergency personnel. The way the system is designed is that the local and parish emergency personnel make decisions and take charge of an emergency event in their particular area until their resources are depleted then they call the state in for assistance. By building relationships on the local level, the bankers will be more on top of any given situation than if they wait for news from the state level.
The first 72 is on you which means that you, personally and your business need to be able to take care of yourself for the first 72 hours after a natural emergency event. After that, assistance should be available.
The Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center is a collaboration among the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana Department of Economic Development, LSU’s Stephenson’s Disaster Management Institution and UL Lafayette’s National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies Institute. The Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Coalition represents the financial sector with the LABEOC. The goal of the BEOC is for private industries to come together to form a partnership with government to be better prepared for an emergency event and respond to and recover more effectively from an emergency event. The physical BEOC facility is housed at ULL’s NIMSAT headquarters in Abdalla Hall in Lafayette. Banks should register on the LABEOC website, www.labeoc.org, to view situational analysis throughout an emergency event. Banks may want to register a contact person from each branch and let customers know that they can register, also. The benefits of registering: (1) situational awareness, (2) ability to request goods and services, (3) ability to provide goods and services, (4) assist GOHSEP when contracts are exhausted. I think the biggest benefit to the bank is the ability to have ongoing situational awareness updates. In addition, for the bank’s customers, this connection may give them the opportunity for work during an emergency event when they may otherwise be without work. Click here to see a YouTube video explaining LABEOC.
Financial Institutions are encouraged to talk with their customers about emergency preparedness.
The Red Cross has several mobile apps that you may be interested in, click here for more information. Red Cross is available to do outreach presentations to groups and companies. They encourage you to like their face book page. In addition, they remind you to have a hard copy of contact information.
One bank uses Voicenation for phone message service, 866-766-5050 or www.voicenation.com. One bank is using Rapid Cast from High Ground Solutions to communicate with employees, click here to visit their website. It can send email blasts, text blasts and can convert voice to text.
You can get enhanced 911 (E911) apps for cell phones that will allow the cell company to release geocode to 911 responders so that they can locate you in the event of an emergency.
Consider adding to your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan what happens when the water pressure is low and there are no bathroom facilities available for use.