"What if" the Department of Homeland Security raised the threat level to the highest on the color chart to red, meaning severe threat. What would the City of Lubbock do? Would public places shut down if the threat was severe?
It's a question West Texans are probably asking themselves, what does the red threat mean to Lubbock and how are we protected? NewsChannel 11 sat down with local, state, and federal agencies and asked, what's their plan of action?
Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Olsen says it's depends on the situation and if it would directly affect Lubbock public places. "It's really difficult to get you arms around something when you don't know what you're trying to get your arms around. That's what we're doing now. We're trying to speculate on the what-if's. The things we have to understand is the question 'Are we prepared? Yes, Lubbock is. Do we have a plan? Yes we do. It's called the Hazardous Material Emergency Management Plan and it's in place," says Olsen.
However, under severe red conditions, the federal government has clearly written out guidelines local governments should consider. One being closing public and government facilities.
State officials say that necessarily doesn't have to happen in Texas or even in Lubbock. A spokeswoman in governor Perry's office said "this is our state criteria: we would activate the state's resources. Our policy doesn't specifically talk about closing public facilities. We would evaluate the threat, take appropriate action if that was necessary. It's not a 'cookie cutter' approach. It depends on threat which does follow the federal guidelines."
Texas Tech political science professor Dr. Brian Gerber says red alert may mean one thing for New York City, and something else for Lubbock, Texas.
Public schools would do the same thing their spokesman Skip Watson says they would evaluate the situation and then make a decision. But the bottom line here is -- you need to be prepared. Olsen says keep 72 hours of food and water stored inside your home.
And, the Lubbock police department has ordered chemical suits for their officers. It's part of the emergency management plan, since police do provide security around hazardous material sites.