Around seven o'clock Wednesday morning, Lubbock learned it could receive thousands of Americans coming from Lebanon, but by five o'clock, the alert was off. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel was at the emergency city council meeting, and explains the days events.
Even though we will not be getting evacuees, the good news is that we know our emergency management plan is working. From the time the call came in, Lubbock was able to find 1,000 motel and hotel rooms that would be available. They contacted Reese and found another 144 beds. Next, they rounded up 20 Citibuses that could be used to transport people. And they also contacted city businesses like rental car companies and money exchange banks and told them to be prepared.
After all the planning was in place, the city council called an emergency meeting to approve two issues. One, to let evacuees come in to Lubbock, and two, to set aside $500,000 in an emergency fund.
It was four o'clock when city leaders met again for a conference call with the Governor's office and FEMA, this time to find out that all their hard work was unnecessary, this time. Mayor David Miller says, "The day was not wasted. We had a good exercise today, it was a good dry run. I saw this staff come together in a very powerful way and that we need to. So, I was proud of them."
One thing to note, Lubbock's leadership has changed since last year, when Lubbock took in two rounds of hurricane evacuees. Lubbock now has a new Mayor, a new Emergency Manager, and a new contact out at Reese. So this was good practice in case of another emergency, especially now that we are in hurricane season.
Lubbock was chosen to help because, as the mayor said, the bigger cities in Texas needed to be available in case we did need shelter for the upcoming hurricane season. But another reason Lubbock was mentioned is that we are known as a sheltering 'Hub City', and some say it's because we had such a great response to other evacuations.
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