Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav - government preparing people?

I'm stunned. At this moment, New Orleans is evacuating. I've spent the last hour trying to put together a list of resources to help Jotman readers living in the Gulf of Mexico prepare for Hurricane Gustav. And you what? Evacuation, forecast, and preparedness information seems to be scattered all over the place.

FEMA and Homeland Security websites only link to public announcements and declarations of emergency by this or that state or federal official, and generic disaster preparedness guides (they have hurricane specific guides, but you have to google for them!). State and federal emergency agency websites don't link to one another. Moreover, as a major hurricane approaches, these US agency websites are day or two out of date. A citizen really has to scrounge for practical information!

Jotman's list of emergency resources. For more on the big hurricane read this post, and then this post too.


  1. Hi Jotman

    This has to be a hot topic right now. They preach preparedness (days of preparedness not a day's worth).

    I operate a disability resource site which focuses on benefits for the disabled but also how to prepare for emergencies. I've also been looking for up-to-date info concerning this storm and have found very little. I agree, the government and citizen groups (such as citizen corps) are doing nothing to direct people to information centers.

    I trust that if you locate such a site you'll keep us posted (I'll do the same).

  2. Will do, Dave.

    Each government agency -- whether state, national, or local -- seems to be it's own fiefdom.

    But a person -- disabled or otherwise -- caught up in an emergency needs to think about a whole bunch of things: transportation, weather forecasts, home security, emergency supplies, alternate housing, traffic, and the list goes on. . .

    The websites are not designed to be useful to citizens. They have not invested in making their sites user-friendly! Why is the Louisiana guide only available in PdF format? I can't imagine how an elderly or non-web-savvy person could navigate some of these websites.

  3. "I can't imagine how an elderly or non-web-savvy person could navigate some of these websites."

    There's the whole dilemma. or Homeland security's web site ( should have front page news on their home page. No such luck.

  4. Dave,

    Check this out:

    " Evacuees with medical needs will be sent to shelters in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Monroe, Bossier City and Hammond.
    However, they should first call one of the lines below to be certified by a nurse. "

    Other good links at, but I can't open their PdF maps

  5. Thanks for the info Jotman. I still think Louisiana could make their web site more user friendly encase of emergency.

    I checked out Mississippi's portal, hats off to Miss....good job.

    Texas was somewhat disappointing because you had to dig a little but the info was there.

    I checked my own State for ease in finding info concerning what to do encase of disasters (environmental or terrorism). They receive a "D" grade. Dead links, needing to have a username/password to enter, and vague info throughout the site.....pitiful. We have a nuclear power plant sitting on the banks of Lake Erie and major rail lines throughout the State. If terrorism strikes, no one knows who to contact. It seems as though the emergency system would be inundated with problems. I plan on contacting the governor and seeing what can be done.

  6. Dave,

    Interesting what we are discovering here. One would think with all the emphasis on Homeland Security, public information websites would be a higher priority.

    Please keep in touch.


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