Thursday, May 18, 2006

Storm Season Needs

While we are in recovery we are also in preparation for the 2006 hurricane season which begins June 1. What families need most is rest, energy, and no fear. My home is so close to being repaired, but there is this underlying fear, this gnawing at your heart, that it all may be for nothing with the new hurricane season fast approaching. It's hard to convey this feeling, I don't know a better analogy at this particular moment.

We need your help, but I am in a quandry of confusion of what would be the most appropriate thing to ask for. So, here goes, my best effort to keep helping the citizens of Bay Saint Louis, at this moment is making sure that the city departments can function.

Our management staff met on Monday and the following items came up that the city needed to perform at the highest peak we can reach if another storm hits our area this season. Many of these things are small, but essential to delivering safe service by our Police, Fire and Public Works Departments.

If we have to evacuate our employee families we need gas cards in any amount that would help to mitigate travel expenses. These cards would be issued with evacuation notices only. If they were not used during the season they would be applied to the city's fuel operating costs.

We need an evacuation kit for each family that would include:
flashlight, with batteries
battery operated radio
small pieces of luggage that could carry two changes of clothes (avg. 3 people)
roll of quarters for using a laudromat
container of laundry detergent
a family personal care kit packed in a plastic shoe box with a lid that holds
1 bottle of shampoo
2 bars of deodorant soap with the plastic soap dishes
1 large tube of toothpaste
1 large size bottle of mouthwash
and in a separate plastic bag
1 bottle of tylenol or aspirin
small box of bandaids
small tube of antibiotic ointment
four-pack of toilet paper
box of tissues.

The mayor is making arrangements for our employee families to stay with other public employees in other north Mississippi cities if the need arises. We will have to find housing for approximately 30 families, other employees will be staying with other family members or friends out of the area. (I'm evacuating to Chattanooga, TN, to stay with a friend and my bag is already packed!)

To help our city departments directly we need the following in any amount, but I've put the maximum amount needed for each department. These were the things we learned the hard way that we needed after a storm, or things we lost during the storm and have not had the finances to replace because other things were deemed more necessary:

Tire Plug Kits (The kit includes tools and plugs and are available through any car parts store, or car repair department of any of the big box stores)

Fire Department - 20 heavy duty kits for medium size trucks
Public Works - 20 standard kits
Police Department - 30 standard kits
Administration - 5 standard kits

12 volt Air Compressors (This is the compressor that fits in your car's cigerette lighter)
Police Department - 30
Administration - 5

25,000# Tow Straps (These are used to move vehicles, trees and other debris)
Fire Department - 6
Public Works Department - 12
Police Department - 30

Jumper Cables
Police Department - 30
Fire Department - 6
Public Works - 6
Administration - 5

To establish safe quarters for those employees who must stay in the city as our emergency and first responders we would like to provide the following to give them some reasonable place of rest. I know that many of these items have already been sent to the citizens, but everything we have received has been distributed for immediate need and use and nothing kept back for city use:

12 adult-size sleeping bags
12 twin-size air mattresses with pumps
12 twin foldable cots (aluminum are easier to store)
24 pillows
12 sets of twin sheets
12 twin blankets
24 pillowcases

There will be more than 12 people to accomodate, there certainly were after Katrina, and they included not only city personnel, but other agencies that sent immediate relief workers. With these items we can accommodate 36 people if the need arises.

We will need to issue personal care kits if needed that will include the following:
Plastic box with lid containing travel sizes of
deodorant soap
shaving cream
1 ea. toothbrush
small bottles of Avon's Skin-So-Soft
insect repellent
and sun screen
One face cloth
One bath towel.

The reason I asked for things in the plastic boxes with lids is for storage. If things aren't used this season, you can believe that they will be used at another future date.

It may be the residual effects of the full moon, but my mood is somber, not fatal, but my gut is telling me that we are in for a rocky season. I hope tomorrow some of my normal optimism will return.

I have tried to list things that are "do-able", not everything, but a way to pick and choose how donors might like to help.
Any of the above items need to be shipped to
City of Bay Saint Louis
Attention Mike Cuevas
1928 Depot Way, Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520.

If donors would decide to help with these items and would like to send money it is imperative, to assure that the money is allocated as a donor chooses, to indicate on your check "Emergency Preparation for Employees and Families" so the monies will not be used for general fund purposes. Checks should be made out to City of Bay Saint Louis and mailed to City of Bay Saint Louis, Attention: David Kolf, Comptroller, P.O. Box 2550, Bay Saint Louis, MS 39521-2550.

Mike Cuevas, Coordinator of Donations and Volunteers


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