On Friday, June 29 and Sunday July 1, the Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Public Health will host its second annual “Operation Prepare.”  The event is a community outreach effort in which teams of OPH staff will distribute important information materials about evacuation and disaster preparation to storm-affected communities and vulnerable populations. 

Approximately 3,000 residents were reached during last summer’s “Operation Prepare.”  Despite this success, organizers also learned that a very serious need existed for emergency preparedness education among the at-risk populations in the area.  For this reason, the event is extending outside of the New Orleans region this year to reach Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in the Baton Rouge FEMA trailer park known as Renaissance Village. 

“Operation Prepare” will kick off on Friday, June 29 at the Iberville Housing Development on Bienville St. in downtown New Orleans from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Mobile public health units and a mobile immunization van will be set up on the perimeter of the development to check blood pressure, provide free immunizations, counseling referrals and distribute DHH’s Family Readiness Guides.  Staff teams made up of nurses, social workers, mental health staff, sanitarians and other OPH staff and partners will also go door-to-door to distribute packets of information on disaster readiness.

The event will resume on Sunday, July 1 at 9 a.m. at the Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church on Dwyer Boulevard in East New Orleans.  Two mobile units will be set up outside of the church to provide the same health and education services after the morning’s church service. Some of the information distributed will include Vietnamese and Hispanic translations. The event will conclude at 1 p.m.

On July 14, the mobile health units will be taken to Baton Rouge where evacuees can benefit from the health screenings and emergency preparedness information.  “Operation Prepare” will also visit other communities in Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish throughout the rest of the year. 

This program is being done in collaboration with the New Orleans Health Department, the Metropolitan Human Services District, the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Center for Community Preparedness, the Louisiana Spirit Program, Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church, and the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

For more information on “Operation Prepare,” contact Steve Phillipe, public health emergency response coordinator, or Adrian Boutin, regional social worker, at (504) 599-0100.  For more information on emergency preparation visit the state emergency information Web site at www.emergency.louisiana.gov.