Concordia at level 2 on evac plan

Published 12:17 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

VIDALIA — As the Mississippi River quickly approaches its highest level ever, Concordia Parish officials have declared that the parish is now officially in “level 2” of the 2011 evacuation plan.

A “level 2” on the flood evacuation warning scale does not require any evacuation, but rather calls for pre-planning for evacuation. This includes things like pre-packaging of personal and irreplaceable property and setting up a personal evacuation route.

A “level 3” on the scale stipulates recommended voluntary evacuation and a “level 4” on the scale requires mandatory evacuation.

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Concordia Parish Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland, Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin, Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell and Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness parish director Morris White were all present at a Monday morning meeting in which the decision to declare Concordia “level 2” was made.

“We are just on “level 2” so we are still hanging in there,” Ferrington said. “We are not in evacuation mode. We are just in the process of setting up the evacuation route.”

Ferrington said an evacuation route map has already been approved in the parish that pinpoints pick-up points, road closures, shelters and law enforcement locations.

A pick-up point is an area where an evacuee goes to be transported away from the disaster area.

Ferrington said the pick-up locations for the parish are located at the three high schools located in Ferriday, Vidalia and Monterey. There is also a pick-up location at the Head Start site in Clayton.

“If we do get into an evacuation mode, go to the closest evacuation location to you,” he said.

Maxwell said it is important for residents to plan for the possibility of an evacuation, but to not panic at the parish’s new scale level because no one has to evacuate.

“We want everyone to prepare for that possibility, just like we’ve been advising for the past few weeks,” he said.

Ferrington said the parish is not recommending evacuation for any residents, but that decision is up to the individual.

“If you feel like you want to evacuate, that is your own personal caution,” he said. “The levees are still holding well, and we are working around the clock to keep up the levees to make sure everything is fine. I believe we are going to get through this OK.”

Maxwell said if there is an evacuation ordered, parish residents will be notified through the Code Red warning system or the media.

“Planning and preparation are essential for everything to run smoothly,” he said. “All of our public agencies are working together for the sake of public safety. We’re in constant contact with one another concerning the river stage and levee condition.”

The sheriff also stressed that anyone who is bedridden or who has a major medical issue that may require assistance in an evacuation needs to let their local law enforcement know immediately.

“Our office or their police departments need to know their vital information ahead of time — their names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. — so we will know precisely how to contact them should an evacuation become necessary,” he said.

Maxwell urged anyone who is not signed up for the Code Red system to do so, and for people to continue to seek new information.

“The media is helping us enormously in keeping everyone informed of the actual facts of this situation. We’re also keeping our website up-to-date,” he said.

To sign up for Code Red alerts, go to, or call Concordia Communications at 318-336-5671 or the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-336-5231, 757-3162 or 386-2200.

The parish was declared a state of emergency early last week, and on Friday, President Obama declared Concordia as one of 22 parishes in the state as a federal flood disaster area.