HOUSTON – Wednesday marks the first day of hurricane season, and experts said it looks like it may be a busy year.
Planning and preparing is a year-round business for communities and towns all across Southeast Texas.
Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful storms, and with just one strike, a tremendous amount of damage can occur over an extremely large area in communities on or near the coast.
The Houston Fire Department rescue teams have been preparing with high water vehicle and evacuation boat training since April. HFD currently has:
- 9 dedicated high water vehicles
- 6 Type 6 wildland engines that can quickly and easily be converted to high water vehicles
- 20 Evacuation boats
- 1 fireboat at Lake Houston that can be used as an evacuation boat
- 10 inflatable rescue boats, deployed by the Technical Rescue Team
- 7 jet skis
Also, all of its rescue trucks have smaller inflatable rescue boats that can be deployed as needed.
At a time when every second counts, equipment, along with the role technology plays is more important now than ever before.
The Houston Office of Emergency Management has an extensive network of mapping systems at its disposal that not only lets officials and first responders pinpoint areas of the city that have been impacted, but also gives them a bird’s eye view of what’s there so they can issue alerts and dispatch resources accordingly.
“Before you used to just see acreage. Now, I’m able to see what’s inside that area that’s going to be flooding or the impacted area... hospitals, nursing homes, your dialysis centers,” said Thomas Munoz, Emergency Management Coordinator for the city of Houston.
From enhancing the state’s power grid to inspections and vegetation management for Entergy, staying storm-ready is a full-time job.
Satellite imagery and computer modeling are used to help predict when trimming may be needed.
To get the power back on as quickly as possible, they use forecasts and computer models based on experience with past storms to predict an estimated number of outages and how they could occur.
T-Mobile said it’s been taking proactive steps throughout the year to be ready before, during and after the storm by expanding its emergency response equipment fleet, developing comprehensive incident response plans and significantly increasing the number of portable generators that can restore power to tower locations where permanent generators are not possible.