Friday, August 26, 2016

Flood Update: August 26th

If you’ve heard very little to nothing about the devastation a recent no-name storm caused in south Louisiana, then please read my original post from August 18th and the August 21st update.   I’ve added some news links with the abridged version, as well as some video/photos:  

This video is of the main road off of the interstate that goes to my hometown.

And this one shows the residential areas in my hometown...

The interview Fox News did with Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard is worth a watch for a better idea of how many people are affected: Painful Truth About Louisiana's Flood

There were more than 80% of the homes flooded and destroyed.  Thirty (30) parishes were declared disaster areas. Thirteen people lost their lives to this unprecedented storm.

The below picture is of the Livingston Parish 9-1-1 Communication Center that started taking on water August 12th.  Look closely, you'll see the waterline hit above four feet.  Imagine our comm center, which is also on the first floor of an old brick building, flooded with four feet of muddy river water.  That's our lifeline when things break bad.  Our communication with others, aside from officer safety, is one of the most important aspects of our job.

The flood waters receded for most areas, the devastation becomes demolition, and the piles of debris become toxic as it sits roadside waiting for the dump trucks.  Louisiana is a state engulfed with heat and humidity.  Add muddy river-water-drenched debris and you can watch the mold spread before your eyes.

Some areas are still flooded with up to two feet of stagnant black river water.  Until the surrounding rivers go down, the water has nowhere to go.  And you have to get over the whole Hurricane Katrina / New Orleans is below sea level.

One of the hardest hit areas happens to be my hometown of Denham Springs, in the heart of Livingston Parish.  This town is over 40 feet above sea level.  This is where my relief efforts will be focused.  With the amazing support of friends, family, and the kindness of strangers, I've been blessed with donations of clothes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. that are overflowing my garage.  It's more than I ever expected, and quite frankly, if it takes more than one trip to deliver it all, then more than one trip I'll gladly make.

As trucks unload, there's another call for help, another shelter in need, another rescue underway.  The supplies dwindle.  Stores lack inventory.  Merchandise is being delivered, however there's very few businesses dry enough to take anything in.

The first responders are pulling double duty with working around the clock to continue the rescues, only to go home to start demolishing mold infested drywall and pulling up wood floors.  They get a couple hours of sleep/rest then return to work for another shift.  Outside law enforcement and fire rescue agencies are sending their personnel as backup.  Several outside police agencies have sent manpower to be temporarily sworn deputies in Livingston Parish.  They've prevented and/or caught red handed several looters.  So on top of the rescues, the lack of supplies, the rotting houses, and long hours, our fellow first responders are also the forgotten victims.

I don't usually share much about my life in such an open forum due to my job as a moving target for cop haters.  This devastation has created a bigger threat for me.  My family is affected, my friends are affected, my home is affected.

I made the excuse recently that because this natural disaster didn't touch my agency here in Florida, or my community, then no one would care; why should they, it only affects me.  I was wrong.  It affects everyone around me.  To show you a glimpse of just how much it affects those around me, here's a picture of day 1 donations followed by day 4.  If it didn't affect those around me, none of this would've been possible.

                                                                      DAY 1...                                    

"The actions of everyday heroes make a bigger statement than any words you'll ever hear." 

Day 4...

There are so many things still needed.  Please note, I'm not accepting any monetary donations.  You can google local Louisiana organizations you wish to send money to.  Preferably not the American Red Cross, who is NOT using the funds donated (or anything else for that matter) to help the flood victims.  Before you donate to a generic organization please do your research.

Here's the main requests being sent to the Louisiana Flood Rescue page and updates from loved ones:
  1. bottled water
  2. toiletries
  3. dust masks
  4. gloves
  5. tools (for demolition and rebuilding)
  6. Mold Killer: MoldSTAT, Concrobium, etc. (BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD)
  7. OdoBan / Lysol
  8. Paper towels
  9. Blankets / Pillows
  10. Towels
  11. Plastic Bins
  12. Pet supplies (all animals) 
  13. First aid kits
  14. Food / snacks for first responders on shift as well as shelters
I'll be out and about this weekend picking up donations around the county to add to the truck.  If you wish to donate anything please don't feel as though you have to purchase it (unless it's underwear or toothbrush)!  I've said it before, a roll of paper towels and a half bottle of cleaner from under your sink is just as useful as anything else you could purchase.

The truck will be loaded Wednesday, August 31st.  Everything from renting the truck, fuel, and a one way flight home is out of pocket.  Please understand that no donations will be picked up or accepted past Tuesday, August 30th.  It's a tight schedule for the next six days to get this done.  I'm making this haul by myself, so prayers for safe travels is also appreciated.

Stay tuned for updates ...


Sissi M.

*or if you know me personally through friends/work please feel free to call or text me.

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