Denton, TX -- Rapides Parish, Louisiana will receive a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve the community's emergency response procedures. Fire, law enforcement and medical service responders will spend approximately four months working with emergency management officials, local industry and volunteers to review and revise procedures and to train responders.
Hundreds of accidental spills involving chemical or petroleum products occur annually on our roadways, waterways and railways. How well is Rapides Parish prepared to handle such a disaster? Are the emergency teams in Rapides Parish prepared and trained to respond to these hazardous incidents? This program is designed not only to help answer these questions but to strengthen and improve preparedness and response capabilities within the community.
"There is no doubt that the Rapides Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) has an effective plan now. However, with constant changes in hazards, a community needs to examine its plans and procedures regularly," commented Ron Castleman, FEMA Regional Director. "CHER-CAP (Comprehensive HAZMAT Emergency Response-Capability Assessment Program) unites elements of the response community in this effort."
The state selected Rapides Parish for this grant because of their interest in constantly improving their response to hazardous materials, according to Col. Mike Brown, State Director of the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness. "Hazardous materials may require quick response from many local and state agencies and departments. We can learn from this experience before a real incident occurs."
"The value of this grant is in the expertise that it brings our community," Sonya Wiley, Rapides Parish OEP Director said. "The grant of $5,500 will help us with basic needs, but the state and federal support to develop plans, procedures and training followed with an exercise to test our emergency response is priceless," she added. "The opportunity afforded Rapides Parish by this grant will help to improve the existing plans and procedures for the continued protection of life and property."