by Staff Sgt. Denis Ricou, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana National Guard, as directed by Governor Bobby Jindal, is ramping up its flood response efforts in Northwest Louisiana to assist local, parish and state emergency officials.
In order to help combat the flood waters and protect communities, Louisiana Guardsmen have been hauling assets and positioning teams to potentially affected areas.
Currently, officials now expect the Red River to crest in Shreveport at 36.5 feet on Sunday, which is the highest level in 70 years. Governor Jindal and GOHSEP have been urging local officials and state agencies to take immediate steps to combat flood waters and to protect homes and important infrastructure. The Governor stressed that this event is a marathon not a sprint, as flood levels will last longer than many would expect due to the water receding slowly.
The LANG has repositioned more than 255,000 sandbags from state warehouses to six parishes in order to support parish flood fighting preparations. In addition, they moved three sandbag filling machines in the area, with an additional three tomorrow, which are capable of filling 400-500 sandbags per hour.
By this afternoon, Guardsmen will have hauled 200,000 bottles of water to Northwest Louisiana to back up the drinking water supply.
The LANG has deployed a Liaison Officer Team to assist Caddo Parish, two Engineer Assessment Teams to help assist Bossier and Caddo Parish personnel in improving protection measures at sewage and water plants, and a team to coordinate with state officials on a response plan to support possible evacuations from the Veterans Home in Bossier.
Governor Jindal said, “State agencies continue working with parishes 24/7 to ensure we do all we can to protect communities from these flood waters. We continue to urge everyone to ensure they have a plan for their families and that they monitor local news reports for parish updates. Obviously, the worst of this event is now in Caddo and Bossier parishes, but the problem areas will move down to Rapides and Natchitoches next week, and we’ve provided assets to help ensure they are prepared. We stand ready to provide more support and emergency response resources as this event continues.”
The LANG has approximately 20 high-water vehicles and 13 boats positioned in the vicinity of Caddo and Bossier Parishes that can quickly respond for integrated search and rescue missions. The Guard has additional vehicles and boats located in central and south Louisiana that could be repositioned for emergencies as needed.
Louisiana’s Guardsmen are trained, ready and equipped to stand up at any moment to protect lives and property, maintain communications, and ensure the continuity of operations and government.