Dear Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans Family Members:
As we move into the 2008 hurricane season, I would like to pass on more specific information regarding hurricane preparedness. Hurricanes are incredibly powerful storms that can cause severe damage over large areas. Many of us saw just how vulnerable the New Orleans area was during Hurricane Katrina. Having said that, it is essential to prepare and plan well in advance for a safe evacuation, should one become necessary.
Should a hurricane threaten the area, it is important for families to understand that the Active Duty member will in all likelihood be recalled to work during the storm. You must have a family plan to evacuate without the Active Duty family member.
Once the 8th Coast Guard District Commander gives the evacuation order, Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Mississippi will be our designated safe haven site for our evacuating family members. Accommodations at NAS Meridian may come in the form of anything from a private room to an open gym with cots (this will depend upon the number of evacuees, etc.). The 8th Coast Guard District Commander will assign an on-site coordinator to NAS Meridian to assist Coast Guard families with their needs. NAS Meridian has all of the support services available at most large installations (medical, commissary, exchange, etc.)
If you have pets, please ensure they have collars with I.D. and are kept in an appropriate travel kennel. It is always a good idea to keep shot records available, have extra medications, if necessary, and plenty of food and water. Although normally a four-hour trip during an evacuation of the New Orleans area, the estimated driving time to NAS Meridian could increase to eight hours or more. That is why it is essential to have a plan and be ready to execute it immediately. Enclosed you will find maps, checklists, and other information to aid you in your journey if the time should come for an evacuation of the area.
The few highways leaving the area will back up very quickly once the evacuation order is given (often before the order is given). Therefore, dependents (and non-essential personnel, with command permission) should strongly consider leaving early. However, reimbursement is not approved until the evacuation order is given, so you will have to weigh the convenience of getting out of town ahead of the crowds against the possibility that you may not be reimbursed. In any case, fill up your gas tank, pack your bags, and be ready to go!
Families living on NAS/JRB in base housing are expected to follow the Naval Air Station guidelines given. If the base commander orders an evacuation, you will not be let back into your homes for any reason. Remaining in the local area is not a viable evacuation option. The local economy will not be able to support you.
If your family should choose to evacuate to another location and not the designated safe haven site, please be aware you will only be reimbursed for mileage between your home and NAS Meridian. You will not be reimbursed for lodging unless you receive a statement of no vacancy from our designated safe haven site. In the case that an exception to our normally designated safe haven is granted by our District Commander, you will be reimbursed for expenses incurred at this new location.
It is important that we know the evacuation location for all families, whether it’s to friends/relatives, or the designated safe haven site. To facilitate this, all active duty members WILL ensure that a current Emergency Planning Information Sheet is on file with the unit Yeoman and their department head knows their dependents’ travel plans and contact information during an evacuation. If the family chooses to evacuate somewhere different than listed on the planning form, once safe, they should contact the duty officer at our Air Station at (504) 393-6032 or report on the District Evacuation Line at 1-866-263-2656. We need to be able to account for everyone.
As of 1 June, the air station activated a hotline with a recorded message to pass current information and unit status. When you contact this number, you will receive a recording containing the latest information for tropical storms of concern in our area, air station readiness status and plans, the safe haven site, and instructions for reporting your evacuation plans and contact information as applicable. The Air Station Hurricane Hotline number is (504) 393-6029.
Your safety is vitally important to me. Therefore, I ask that you take time to review the enclosed information, plan and prepare. The checklists enclosed are simply recommended items and actions to assist you with your family evacuation plan. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact the Executive Officer, CDR Maine at (504) 393-6002, the Disaster Preparedness Officer, LTJG Dennis Moulder at (504) 393-6022, or the unit Ombudsman, Mrs. Susie Letsch at (504) 394-9174.
Sincerely,E. J. Cubanski, III
Our hurricane evacuation safe haven is NAS Meridian located approximately 4 hours north in Meridian, Mississippi. Members and dependents that evacuate to this location will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Please realize that accommodations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. NAS Meridian can provide for all of your basic needs, to include kenneling of pets. Please note that members and families that decide not to evacuate here may not be reimbursed the travel expenses to the safe haven of their own choosing.
It is important that family members have a plan to evacuate without their Coast Guard member.
255 Rosenbaum Ave
Meridian, MS 39309
Click here for directions from NAS JRB New Orleans to NAS Meridian.
Click here to download a complete list of essential items to pre-position in your disaster supply kit.
Click here to download your free copy of the 2008 Louisiana Citizen Awareness and Disaster Evacuation Guide. It is a good idea to keep one copy of this guide in each of your vehicles. These can also be picked up for free at all Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Red Cross locations. **Please review the contraflow plans and evacuation time frames. Note that there are only certain entrances to the highways when contraflow is in effect.**
|AIRSTA Hurricane Hotline||504-393-6029|
|AIRSTA Operations Center||504-393-6032 / 504-393-6033|
|AIRSTA Toll Free||1-800-AIR-NOLA|
|NAS Meridian-Primary Evacuation Site||601-679-2958 / 601-679-2361|
|District 8 People Cell||1-800-787-6724|
|District 8 Auxiliary Line - Monitored after evacuation ordered||1-866-263-2656|
Hurricanes pose a significant threat to the Greater New Orleans area. In addition to military duties, personnel must take precautionary measures at home to protect their families and property in the event of a hurricane. All reasonable efforts will be taken by the Commanding Officers and department heads to ensure personnel have time to prepare for hurricane emergencies. Personnel must take individual responsibility for pre-planning and ensuring family members know what to do in the event of a hurricane.
When a hurricane threatens, you may have to make the decision whether to evacuate New Orleans or to "ride out" the storm in your home. Be advised that IF LOCAL AUTHORITIES RECOMMEND EVACUATION, YOU SHOULD LEAVE. Their advice is based on experience and knowledge of the hurricane’s strength, direction, and potential for destruction. **If a military evacuation order is issued, all military personnel and family members living in government housing are required to evacuate the New Orleans area.** Have a plan for family members to evacuate without the active duty Coast Guard member.
Click here to view and download some important personal safety measures you should consider when planning to evacuate.
These safety precautions are not to be considered as all-inclusive. They are a guide and may be used as a checklist. Common sense and individual requirements may dictate additional measures be included.