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Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (Louisiana Disaster Act)

The Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (Louisiana Disaster Act) – Louisiana Revised Statute (LRS) Title 29:721 - 739provides structure and empowers State and local governments when preparing for, preventing, responding to or recovering from natural and manmade disasters.


It defines roles for State, Parish, local governments and nongovernmental agencies and organizations (NGOs). It also provides guidance with regard to shelters, evacuations and curfews, financing, assistance identification, interstate and intrastate cooperation, liability limitations and immunity of personnel responding to disasters.



Specific sections of the Louisiana Disaster Act include:

724 – Identifies the powers of the Governor for meeting the dangers to the State and people presented by emergencies or disasters, including declaring a state of emergency by executive order or proclamation. Some of the powers include, but are not limited to: issue, amend or rescind executive orders, proclamations and regulations that have the force and effect of law; activate the State’s emergency response plan and compel evacuations. (The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act [Stafford Act] empowers the Governor to request an emergency or major declaration which allows Federal assistance in advance of or in response to a natural or man-made disaster.)


725Creates GOHSEP and describes the powers of its director.


725.3, 725.4, 725.5 – Allows for a Deputy Director of Interoperability and defines his or her duties and responsibilities. Those include working in conjunction with the State Unified Command Group (UCG) and Interoperability Subcommittee to develop, implement and maintain a secure interagency communication across jurisdictional and geographic boundaries.


725.6 – Establishes the State UCG, which is the strategic decision-making body for emergencies in Louisiana with the Governor serving as the unified commander. The UCG is composed of members established by executive order of the Governor. Defines the intent, role, authority and duties of the group, as well as how the group will be organized and meet. This section creates the Regional Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP) Parish Directors Subcommittee, First Responders Subcommittee and Interoperability Subcommittee.


726Details authority and responsibilities of GOHSEP. Under the authority of the Governor, GOHSEP is responsible for homeland security and emergency preparedness. The office develops and maintains a current State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that provides for response, assistance to local officials, coordination and organization of response activities and coordination of any Federal response. The agency plays an integral part in the development of local and interjurisdictional emergency plans by providing expertise where needed and incorporating the advice and assistance of local governments, business, labor, agriculture, civic and volunteer organizations and community leaders. These local plans include everything from establishment of shelters to evacuation procedures to hazard mitigation to communications plans.  


726.1 – Defines the role of nongovernmental participation in disaster response, including coordination of delivery of human services, development of a services registry and aid to displaced residents.


726.2 – Provides guidelines for identifying and creating public evacuations shelters under the direction of the Parish OHSEP.


726.3 – Describes critical incident planning and mapping system for all public buildings to assist first responders.

727, 728 – Outlines responsibilities and duties of Parish Presidents and provides guidelines for the establishment, staffing and operation of OHSEPs. These sections also outline disaster declaration powers and procedures during an emergency response. Section 727 allows for the suspension of local sales of alcohol, firearms, explosives or combustibles by Parish Presidents, and establishes penalties for violations.


727: I. (1) requires the formation of a Parish Emergency Management Advisory Committee (PEMAC).

729 – Provides authorities and responsibilities of Parish OHSEP. Requires the preparation and maintenance of a Parish all-hazards emergency operations plan that includes response measures, hazard identification, assistance catalogs, chains-ofcommand and intergovernmental coordination. This section outlines what the Parish OHSEP will provide in case of emergency, including resources, human services, shelters and pet services.


730, 730.1 – Outlines the establishment of interjurisdictional agreements to share plans, programs, equipment, operations and costs. It includes compensation guidelines and responsibilities.


730.2Requires municipalities within a Parish to respond with personnel and services when available in the event of an emergency.


730.3 – Establishes guidelines for Parish Presidents to declare evacuation orders and impose curfews.


731.2 – Provides requirements for those receiving disaster assistance to produce identification.


732 – Establishes rules and penalties for price gouging.


733 – Establishes guidelines for creating an interstate emergency preparedness and disaster compact and creates 15 Articles to which the contracting State agrees to adhere.


733.1 – Establishes limitations on liability for owners or operators of property used for shelters.


734 – Provides for jurisdiction when a district court is not operational in order to address violations of LRS 29:732 (which prohibits price gouging).


735, 735.1, 735.2, 735.3, 735.3.1, 735.5 – Provides immunity from liability during a disaster response for emergency personnel, healthcare providers and volunteers and addresses licensing issues.


737 – Outlines the authority of chief executive officers of municipalities to take emergency response measures and request aid from the Parish OHSEP (or GOHSEP) when a disaster or emergency is beyond the capabilities of the local government.


738 – Reinforces that emergency powers do not extend to seizure of lawfully possessed firearms.


739 – Establishes rules for Intrastate Mutual Aid Compact (IMAC) and creates the Intrastate Mutual Aid Subcommittee.