Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness - State of LouisianaSince 1990, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emgergency Preparedness has coordinated several hundred State Disaster Declarations authorized under the Governor's signature. The GOHSEP staff is poised and ready to serve the people of Louisiana at a moment’s notice.
Disaster Recovery Division
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Disaster Recovery (DR) Division works to maximize disaster assistance to eligible public entities, individuals and families through various state and federal disaster assistance programs.

As much as Louisiana citizens try to prepare for catastrophic disasters and to reduce risks from hurricanes, tornados, floods, severe storms, freezes, winter storms and other disasters, they still happen.
  • To get more information on how you can prepare for and reduce your risks from disasters, visit the Get A Game Plan website.
  • You can also download the Get A Game Plan App for iPhones and iPads from the Apple iTunes Store.
What happens when an emergency/disaster strikes?
When disaster strikes, local/parish governments are the first line of response. Once local/parish governments exhaust all their resources, the first recourse is to call upon the resources of neighboring jurisdictions to assist in the response and recovery efforts. When the capabilities of local/parish governments, including available mutual aid, have been exhausted the parish emergency management director notifies GOHSEP and coordinates obtaining the appropriate resources/assistance from state agencies, the federal government, the private sector or the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

Reporting the Situation/Damages to the State
The Local Parish/Government will make a request for assistance to GOHSEP once they have exhausted all their resources. GOHSEP is responsible for obtaining an initial situation report from the parish emergency management director. The report will provide information on the extent of injuries or damages, describe the response efforts and indicate the types and extent of assistance needed. GOHSEP’s Regional Coordinator (RC) will report to the scene to obtain additional information, ensure all local resources including mutual aid are exhausted and verify if state or federal assistance is needed.

Introduction and Lifecycle of a Disaster
The Stafford Act (§401) requires that: “All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State.” A State also includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia are also eligible to request a declaration and receive assistance.

The Governor’s request is made through the regional FEMA/EPR office. State and Federal officials conduct a preliminary damage assessment (PDA) to estimate the extent of the disaster and its impact on individuals and public facilities. This information is included in the Governor’s request to show that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the local governments and that Federal assistance is necessary. Normally, the PDA is completed prior to the submission of the Governor’s request. However, when an obviously severe or catastrophic event occurs, the Governor’s request may be submitted prior to the PDA. Nonetheless, the Governor must still make the request.

As part of the request, the Governor must take appropriate action under State law and direct execution of the State’s emergency plan. The Governor shall furnish information on the nature and amount of State and local resources that have been or will be committed to alleviating the results of the disaster, provide an estimate of the amount and severity of damage and the impact on the private and public sector, and provide an estimate of the type and amount of assistance needed under the Stafford Act. In addition, the Governor will need to certify that, for the current disaster, State and local government obligations and expenditures (of which State commitments must be a significant proportion) will comply with all applicable cost-sharing requirements.

Based on the Governor’s request, the President may declare that a major disaster or emergency exists, thus activating an array of Federal programs to assist in the response and recovery effort.

Damage Assessment occurs in two areas:
  • Assessment of homes/businesses (Individual Assessment)
  • Assessment of public infrastructure (Public Assistance)
Steps to take - Before GOHSEP / FEMA Assessment Teams Arrive
  • Locals perform a rapid assessment by surveying both areas as mentioned above. Typically, people used for this effort have included individuals with familiarity in assessment of homes and businesses, i.e. human services officers, building inspectors and tax assessors. Individuals who can be utilized for infrastructure losses, may include city/parish engineers, council members, department heads or managers from departments such as public works or utilities etc.
  • Based on the assessments, local governments should perform the following:
    • Prepare maps locating damages
    • Secure large capacity vehicles for damage assessment teams. The vehicles should be able to accommodate up to six passengers.
    • Assign a local representative to each team who is familiar with the damages, i.e. public works director for assessment of infrastructure loses or a human services officer for damages to homes and businesses.
    • A local representative will need to accompany the assessment teams throughout the parish and cities, serving as a liaison with each jurisdiction.
    • Determine the percent of insurance coverage for the impacted homes/businesses.
    • A Public Property Site Assessment Worksheet (FORM) should be utilized along with a map in local assessment of infrastructure losses.
  • The importance of the initial local assessment cannot be over emphasized. Since speed and accuracy are essential in obtaining the maximum amount of help in the shortest amount of time, established workable procedures and trained personnel should be in place beforehand.
After GOHSEP / FEMA Teams Arrive
  • Teams will meet with local officials first to discuss the current disaster situation.
  • Teams will break into the two assessment groups (IA and PA) and review damages by looking at maps and discussing losses with local team representatives.
  • Teams will begin surveying worst affected areas and slowly move to less damaged areas as time allows.
  • Teams will return to the original or pre-identified location to discuss the assessments and to de-brief local elected officials.
Public Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment Checklist

Public Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessment Resources

Local Parish Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Information
Clink the link below to obtain a listing of Parish Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness contacts and their contact information:
Parish OEP Contact Information

You may also access direct links to some Parish Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Offices by clicking the link below:
Parish OEP Website Information

GOHSEP State Region Information
Visit our GOHSEP State Regions webpage to out which region your parish falls under. Louisiana is divided into 9 emergency management and homeland security districts which GOHSEP uses in conjunction with its Regional Support program.