Bossier Parish has adopted an emergency operations plan for possible winter storms in the wake of last year’s Arctic blast that virtually shut down most of the parish and northwest Louisiana.
Plans identify steps to be taken as forecasters warn of approaching weather conditions, including measures for winter storm watches and the more serious winter storm warnings. In addition to continuous monitoring of weather information, parish highway department crews will be gathering equipment and checking supplies designed to combat hazardous conditions.
Bossier Parish’s highway department has added a piece of equipment to its fleet that will be called on in emergency conditions. A snow plow, complete with an attached spreader for either sand or salt, can now be dispatched in efforts to keep parish roads open.
Officials have identified five staging areas throughout the parish where emergency equipment will be deployed as conditions warrant. When a winter watch is issued, equipment and supplies will be pre-staged to designated ice/snow challenge areas such as hills and overpasses. Local contractors will be contacted for additional assistance if needed.
Staging areas have been designated at Parish Fire District 7 station, the Bossier Parish highway department facility in Benton, Hammack Way off Swan Lake Rd., the Dogwood levy at Red Chute Bayou and at the South Bossier Park.
Each was selected for its proximity to designated critical areas including bridges and overpasses, heavily travelled roads and populated areas.
Also included in the plan is contact and cooperation with other governmental agencies, law enforcement and groups that may provide transportation or support for individuals who have special needs. Officials will identify special populations including hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers and will be in contact in case of emergency needs.
Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness will provide situation updates during any emergency and hold briefings for the parish’s Unified Command Group or Parish Emergency Management Committee depending on severity of the incident. BOHSEP will also liaison with all agencies participating in operations.