The Texas Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) hosted a hurricane emergency response exercise and resource showcase in Austin on Friday. Various resources, equipment, vehicles and numerous emergency responders from around the state convened at Austin Bergstrom International Airport to conduct interoperability and resource capability assessments, as well as logistical planning. Gov. Rick Perry and several other state officials visited the exercise site today, the first day of the 2012 hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.
“Today’s exercise is an important reminder of the magnitude of resources necessary to meet the threat of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful and devastating forces,” said TDEM Chief Nim Kidd. “We stand ready to assist our local leaders in the event a storm heads their way, and we’re also asking the public to do their part by taking some simple but important steps to prepare their homes and families for the 2012 hurricane season.”
Emergency responders today showcased an impressive array of equipment: a wide variety of aircraft, including a C-130 Hercules Air Transport and Blackhawk Helicopter; multiple mobile command and communication trailers; water rescue equipment and several watercraft; and mobile fuel, water, livestock and kitchen units. The agencies and organizations participating in the exercise included the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Forces, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas Engineering Extension Service (Texas Task Force 1), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Forest Service, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Veterinary Emergency Response Team, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the Civil Air Patrol.
“We’re blessed to be coming off relatively quiet hurricane seasons, but we know that it’s not a matter of if another major hurricane is going to hit us, it’s a matter of when,” Gov. Perry said. “Through practice, simulation and repetition, Texas has honed one of the most effective and efficient emergency response teams in the country, but I encourage all Texans to develop an emergency plan, put together an emergency supply kit and establish an evacuation route in the event of impending disaster.”
As the 2012 hurricane season begins, Texans should be preparing their families and property now - before a storm develops. Texas residents, especially living along the coast, are urged to put together an emergency supply kit; learn evacuation routes before a storm hits; have a plan to ensure all family members and pets are able to evacuate safely if necessary; make preparations to protect your property from the impact of a storm; and stay informed about changing weather conditions in and around your area.
Texans living on the coast who will need transportation assistance during an evacuation are urged to call 2-1-1 now to sign up with the Transportation Assistance Registry. For more information on registering, please visit: http://www.211texas.org/211/.