Staying Off Roads Is Fastest Way To Clean Up After Isaac

Aug 29, 2012

Since Isaac is such a slow moving storm, as Holden said, strong winds for a long period of time are going to be a concern.

WRKF's Ashley Westerman spoke with David Guillory. He is the Interim Director of the Baton Rouge Department of Public Works. And he says reporting downed trees and power lines is the best way to ensure the situation is fixed.

GUILLORY: You can call 311, which is our call center and that's where we're disseminating all information for city-parish. The power line number would go directly to Entergy, which is 1-800-9-OUTAGE. It's 1-800-9-OUTAGE. That's Entergy's power line, power down number and either one of those two places will get the complaint to the correct department. Once the winds get over a certain miles per hour, 30-35 miles per hour, we can't go up in bucket trucks and neither can Entergy. So there's limited things we can do until the wind starts the calm, so it's really best to stay off the streets.

WESTERMAN: I know that if your land line goes down, ect., you could be in trouble. How dependable are the cell phone towers, cell phones connections?

GUILLORY: They're dependable to a certain limit. When there's large amount of power outages, of course more people are using the cell phones. The more people using the cell phones, the less reliable they're going to be. From what I understand, text messaging works much better. I know from Gustav, from experience, when the cell phones weren't working, the texts, you could still text. And that's how we did a lot of communicating with each other, so I'd try that.

WESTERMAN: And I know we're talking about, you know, heavy winds for a long period of time so that's lots of debris. What do people need to do if there is damage to their house? Do they need to try and go out and do a quick fix? Or do they just need to wait?

GUILLORY: You know, it really all depends on the severity. If there are items in the yard, in the street, that could blow and cause damage to the structure, if there's a break they can try some of that stuff but for the most part it's best to stay indoors and stay off the street.

WESTERMAN: And let's fast-forward a little bit to the eventual aftermath of the storm, I know around tomorrow it's supposed to come down to Tropical Depression level. What advice do you think people need to have in terms of what they need to do after the storm?

GUILLORY: If you don't have power now or after the storm, you can report it to Entergy. Entergy does have an interactive map that they're working off now. Entergy's actually been working expeditiously to get power back on. There will be outages after the storm passes. Entergy will be working on those. City-parish will begin assessing the damage as far as debris goes and beginning to come up with a plan on how and where we're going to begin to collect the debris. Depending on the amount of rain we get, we're not out of the woods yet because there's a lot of river Amite Basin that's going to be coming down to Baton Rouge still and there's still a possibility of flooding once the storm passes. So, you know, people in low-lying areas need to keep that in mind as well because the flooding we may not see until Friday, maybe even Saturday.

WESTERMAN: And, finally, you just mentioned Gustav. What about this storm is reminding you of Gustav and what can people do now to help make your department run a little more efficiently in helping people?

GUILLORY: One of the things is staying off the road. The less traffic, the more we can do our jobs, during and immediately after the story. Once the storm does pass and we are out of the woods, getting debris out to the street quickly. The quicker the debris gets out to the street, the quicker we can pick it up. We do usually have to make two or three passes, the more we can get out to the street initially, the better it works for us.

WESTERMAN: Alright, thank you so much.

GUILLORY: Thank you.