Emergency Managers Convene in Advance of Hurricane Season

Nim Kidd, assistant director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett
With Tropical Storm Chantal racing toward the eastern Caribbean, it's a reminder to emergency managers in southeast Texas that the busy part of the hurricane season is almost here. Those leaders got together for an emergency preparedness "tune-up" that could come in handy later in the summer. 

It may seem redundant, staying ready during hurricane season six months out of the year, but for anyone living near the Gulf of Mexico, it is a way of life. Nim Kidd is chief of the Texas division of emergency management, and assistant director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was part of the conference at Reliant Center, that included emergency managers from all over Southeast Texas.

"Tou have seasoned veterans that have dealt with planning, training, exercising, responding and recovering from storms and disasters. I would merge to say the best leaders in the nation in doing this, are right here in the in the Harris-Galveston area."

Matt Webber, mayor of Shore Acres north of Kemah, says his city is still recovering from the devestation left from Ike five years ago.

"We did sustain significant damage, a lot of homes had water in them. The roadways, we had a lot of debris that washed up into people's yards and such, and the challenge there was not only getting our population and the homes back in order, but all the infrastructure that supported it. But fortunately, the city of Shore Acres and their population are a resilient bunch."

Mark Sloan, coordinator for the Harris County Office of Emergency Management
Mark Sloan, coordinator for the Harris County Office of Emergency Management

 

Mark Sloan, coordinator for the Harris County Office of Emergency Management, says this is not the time of season to be complacent.

"We always think about that. That's why our office and our partners are constantly going out into the community to talk about preparedness, to remind people of that risk and threat. I'd love to say we'd never have a catastrophic event, but we're gonna have named storms in the Gulf of Mexico, and hopefully they don't impact us, but we have to be prepared. We don't want to prepare 3 hours ahead of time."

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, director of the County's office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says he hopes participants never forget one constant.

"The message during hurricane season is always to keep at least a half a tank of fuel, because that way if a storm crops up. Hurricane Humberto, 18 hours from the time it originated to the time it made landfall. How many people are prepared for that? We need to make sure that everybody understands, make sure you have a plan, make sure you have a kit. If you're in an area where you're likely to evacuate, have a kit that you can put in the car and take with you."

More information on being hurricane ready can be found at www.readyharris.org.

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Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...