Harris Co. Urges Residents In Need To Register For Evacuation Assistance

Tropical Storm Alex is expected to become a hurricane sometime tomorrow. A hurricane watch is already in effect for the south Texas coast. Alex is "not" on track to threaten the Houston area. But emergency officials in Harris County say now is the time for people who can't evacuate themselves to make sure they're registered to get help if an evacuation order comes. David Pitman reports.

People in Harris County can register for evacuation help by calling 2-1-1.  This generally applies to people who are disabled or have other health conditions that slow them down.  Or, if they simply don't have transportation, or know anyone who could help them out in an emergency.  County Judge Ed Emmett says this evacuation assistance doesn't just apply to hurricane situations.

"We encourage people, no matter where you live, even if you don't live in a storm surge area.  Maybe you live around some industrial plants that might create a problem someday.  We just need to know where people are who cannot evacuate themselves."

Emmett, who directs Harris County's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says those who don't register in advance will still be helped in the event of an evacuation.  But he wants to avoid a repeat of what happened during Hurricane Ike nearly two years ago.

"You know, you had some people who said 'I'm not gonna leave, I'm not gonna leave.'  And then they realized how bad it was.  And, at the last minute said, 'oh, come get me.'  That not only endangered them, but it endangered the Coast Guard, and all those people who went to make those heroic efforts to get people out at the last minute."

People who registered for evacuation help through 2-1-1 last year must do so again this year.

Tropical Storm Alex tracking

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David Pitman

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