Shelter From the Storm: Lubbock Prepares for Hurricane Season - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/2/06

Shelter From the Storm: Lubbock Prepares for Hurricane Season

Lubbock is part of the largest evacuation drill in state history. And it all started with the simulation of a Category Five Hurricane.

On Tuesday, Governor Rick Perry launched a four-day hurricane preparedness exercise simulating the worst possible scenarios. Perry wants to prevent backed-up evacuation routes like what Houston area drivers experienced when they were fleeing Hurricane Rita. The drill includes simulations of moving the elderly, dealing with gas shortages and opening up highways to one-way traffic for a smoother evacuation.

For Lubbock, the role in this evacuation drill is what it would be if disaster strikes: to provide shelter from the storm. NewsChannel 11's Christy Hartin visited Lubbock's Emergency Operation Center where the drill is underway and has this report.

Governor Perry praised the City of Lubbock for it's response during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With only hours to prepare, the city provided shelter to more than 1,200. Jeff McKito, Public Information and Marketing Manager for the City of Lubbock, says this time the city is preparing its response plan now - a month before hurricane season even starts.

"We're a month away from hurricane season, and with any emergency situation, whether it's a family dealing with a house fire, or hurricane evacuation, it's always best to have a plan in place," McKito said.

Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Overstreet says one thing they learned from last year's hurricanes was the need for a web-based site to track evacuees. "All participating during an evacuation can see real time exactly who they're getting, what kind of special needs that they have or any other issues that need to be addressed - sex offenders and things of that nature," Overstreet said.

Overstreet says this system will help loved-ones locate evacuees. It will also help officials keep track of the millions of people evacuated.

Making a Kit for an Emergency Situation
When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it's best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

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