Natural Disasters

Hurricane season starts in June, (actually, the danger really begins in April, when those severe weather fronts and tropical storms can drop a foot or more of water in a few hours – remember all those May floods?) NOPP/LPP’s eighty-plus year commitment to our customers is stronger than ever, and we intend to be there for those who have entrusted their security needs to us, no matter how bad the situation or conditions may become. While we think the likelihood of a direct hit by another Katrina-size storm is remote, as your security provider we have to be prepared for the worst. We want our customers to know that NOPP/LPP believes emergency preparedness is as much a part of our job as access control and patrol rounds. We have spent millions of dollars in equipment purchases - high water vehicles, field equipment and supplies, multi-modality communications, and rescue equipment, as well as storm hardened employee housing and the most up to date, storm proof headquarters center in the country. First let’s discuss our preparations and then we’ll highlight the basics of our plan of action:

 

 

Corporate Headquarters

Our ten thousand square foot corporate headquarters was completely renovated in 2009. Constructed in the early 20th century with solid brick exterior walls sixteen to twenty inches thick, this facility features steel and aluminum framed windows with wind resistant mesh or tempered glass, heavy gauge metal exterior doors, and a reinforced roof. A 24/7 dispatch room with multiple communication systems, administrative and executive offices, classrooms, testing rooms, supply and uniform storage areas, fitting rooms, housing facilities for up to fifty officers, are contained within, and thirteen parking spaces are located on-site. This facility is protected by the latest electronic technology, including a CCTV camera system, remote controlled perimeter gates, fire and alarm sensors, armored interior walls in restricted areas, and is capable of generating 144 kilowatts of electricity from three internal generators in the event of a power outage.


PHASE I – HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

As we all know, each storm presents a unique threat. Depending on the direction of approach, storm travel speed, interior wind speed, tidal surge, and local conditions, a Category 2 storm can cause as much or more damage than a Category 3 or 4 storm. We realize that hurricane season is a nervous time for our customers and the Gulf Coast in general. We should anticipate during this heightened storm cycle that the central Gulf region can expect to be evacuated on average once or twice a year.

PHASE II – HURRICANE RESPONSE

The short version of this complex plan is that thirty-six hours prior to the anticipated arrival of any major storm, NOPP/LPP senior management officials will contact our customers to discuss final security arrangements and emergency communications procedures during and immediately after the storm. By this point the decision will have been made whether to evacuate our administrative and non-essential personnel to our Baton Rouge offices, and our customers will be notified accordingly. 

 PHASE III – POST HURRICANE RESPONSE

Immediately upon the passing of the storm and situation permitting, NOPP/LPP plans to resume operations and return our field personnel from Baton Rouge and outlying areas when the first police, military, and utility company vehicles arrive on the streets. In the meantime all of our customers will be contacted as per your pre-arranged instructions, to re-establish communications, obtain a preliminary damage assessment, and re-evaluate your security needs in light of the current situation.

Fleet of Vehicles

NOPP/LPP operates a fleet of several dozen vehicles based in southeast Louisiana.  This fleet consists entirely of SUV’s, Hummers, pick-up trucks, and specialized vehicles, all of which are capable of fording at least 14” of water and some of which are capable of fording twice that depth. Our trucks have been equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, giving NOPP/LPP long term sustainability whether or not fuel is available locally.  Several “Gator” gas powered vehicles have been added to the fleet, giving us the additional ability to operate on partially blocked roadways and cleared pathways through devastated areas. Just in case local fuel supplies are unavailable, we maintain sufficient fuel reserves on site to get through the first crucial days after a natural disaster.

Communications

Most cellular phone services failed completely or severely deteriorated during and after Katrina, so NOPP/LPP now has several independent communications modalities. We use the Verizon cell phone system. Since Katrina, Verizon cell towers have been relocated where necessary and given longer running emergency power sources. NOPP/LPP also uses this company’s Direct Connect walkie-talkie and texting service. With the addition of VOIP and Wi-Fi Internet capability, NOPP/LPP can send and receive telephonic and text messages over the Internet. Our satellite phone system is set up to be activated whenever a hurricane is predicted to hit in or near southeast Louisiana within forty- eight hours, or in case of a major disaster involving loss or impairment of communications, or Homeland Security RED ALERT/MARSEC Level III declaration. Our customers and employees can also expect to receive information about NOPP/LPP from commercial radio broadcasts, as arrangements have been made to broadcast emergency messages with several radio stations.