News IBTS Wins Praise for Storm Efforts During Hurricane Isaac

September 13, 2012 - Central City, LA:

IBTS Wins Praise for Storm Efforts

IBTS, the private non- profit organization that provides city services in Central, won high praise for their work during Hurricane Isaac at last Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.  In an interview Tuesday after- noon, top officials of IBTS explained their efforts before and during the hurricane.

David Ratcliff, IBTS program director for the City of Central, said planning began in June and culminated with a four-hour emergency planning meeting involving Mayor Mac Watts the Monday before Isaac hit Louisiana.

“One of the most important decisions was to position emergency equipment at strategic points around the City of Central. Trees down on Sullivan, Lovett, or Gurney can severely limit our access to an area in need,” Ratcliff said.

“So we wanted to be sure equipment was available in all parts of the city, and that we were able to respond very quickly.”

Working Together

When the storm hit, everyone worked together, including the Mayor’s office, Central Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, and IBTS, he said.  Sure enough, large trees went down on Sullivan, Lovett, and Gurney.  Phone poles were sheared off, and electrical wires were tangled.

“We worked together to seal off the affected area. We had stationed trucks throughout the city that had all of the signs and emergency markers necessary to seal off an area.  In most cases, crews were sent out to help as soon as calls were received.

David Ratcliff Statement: Individuals and employees that I would like to compliment for their dedication and commitment to the City of Central are Ray Louis, Public Works Director, and his crews, Debbie Mouton and Ashley Clayton for manning the EOC.  I would like to thank the citizens of the City of Central for volunteering assistance during the storm and being patient until issues were resolved.  I would like to offer special thanks to the Mayor, Council, Fire Chief and Staff and Sheriff’s Dept. for all the assistance and direction provided to the City of Central Municipal Services/IBTS. 

Individuals and employees that I would like to compliment for their dedication and commitment to the City of Central are Ray Louis, Public Works Director, and his crews, Debbie Mouton and Ashley Clayton for manning the EOC.  I would like to thank the citizens of the City of Central for volunteering assistance during the storm and being patient until issues were resolved.  I would like to offer special thanks to the Mayor, Council, Fire Chief and Staff and Sheriff’s Dept. for all the assistance and direction provided to the City of Central Municipal Services/IBTS.   
  - David Ratcliff of IBTS 

Ratcliff said IBTS considered the weather conditions, the location, and the safety of employees.  “Employee safety is always our No. 1 concern,” he said.

When IBTS lost telephone contact, calls were routed to the Central Fire Station, where they were answered by IBTS personnel.  

Altogether, IBTS responded to calls at more than 40 locations.  The company made a strong effort to clean ditches in the city before Isaac hit, in order to facilitate drainage.  After the hurricane had passed, they returned and cleaned the ditches again.  “The easiest way to cause flooding is to have ditches filled with debris,” Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff was among the IBTS workers who were deployed during and immediately after the storm. On Thursday, we found him driving a Caterpillar tractor, moving giant trees off Sullivan Road.  Ratcliff was proud that trees were removed from Central’s roads almost immediately after they fell. 

Lessons Learned

Ratcliff said he plans to have more staging areas and more personnel available for the next hurricane.

The Fire Chief and the Mayor have asked for IBTS to conduct a self-evaluation of their performance, and Ratcliff expects that to be ready soon. 

Individuals involved in the interview were Ashok Goswami, IBTS/ CEO, Greg Seldon, IBTS/Director of Local Government Solution, and David Ratcliff, IBTS/Program Director, City of Central.

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