Lubbock is on stand by and ready to house up to 500 Hurricane Rita evacuees again. They're gearing up at Reese Center after having learned from the last go-round. City Chief of Staff Dixon Platt says, "It seems like we've just been through this recently."
Linens and rows of the beds that need them fill the Reese Center again. Authorities don't know if all the beds will be needed, but they're there just in case. Platt says, "500 beds are what we've got laying on the ground now. You can see the bedding starting to come in. The port-a-potties are being found and brought in." Finding port-a-potties has been a challenge given the hurricane comes at the same time as the South Plains Fair and this weekend's Texas Tech football game.
This time, Platt says lessons learned last time around will be applied in time for Rita evacuees. Of Lubbock's Katrina experience he says, "It was chaotic, too chaotic really. This (the hanger) is a bedroom for these folks and we want to make it more private for them. So we want to thin out some of the volunteers from being in the building and put them; for instance, there is a Training Center here and we'll have a clinic set up there."
The shelter even has it's own mini police department complete with radio communication, a satellite link and high speed internet. Platt explains, "Last time the fire department took control of the incident command center. This time the police department is doing it."
Platt says they'll again set up computers upstairs and place TV's in the hanger, making sure everyone is as comfortable as possible... something that made Lubbock standout compared to other shelters last time around. Platt adds, "It's not that they did it wrong or bad, they just didn't do as good as Lubbock did."