The City of Galveston Hurricane Preparedness Team met on Tuesday at Galveston City Hall. Listen
“The tropics are quiet right now, as they should be,” reported Dan Reilly of the National Weather Service Office in League City. “The forecast from the Colorado State folks is for near or slightly below normal activity in the Atlantic overall.”
He said the weather service will be emphasizing hazards other than wind speed categories this year.
“The rainfall, surge, wind-threat - trying to describe the storm as best we can and steer people away from that one number,” Reilly said.
“From the state’s point of view, it is still the same thing,” said Mike Jones of the Department of Public Safety. “We are pushing preparedness.”
He stressed the importance of reviewing hurricane plans before a storm threatens.
“Start looking at your special needs personnel and see what you need,” he said. “We need to know how many ambulances are going to be needed.”
Niki Bender of the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management said the county is working on plans and participating in exercises with several other organizations represented at the meeting.
“We look forward to keeping prepared and hopefully having a quiet season,” she said.
“We are doing our usual pre-storm planning,” said Mike Mastrangelo of the University of Texas Medical Branch. “Some of our mitigation projects are under way so that we will have a stronger infrastructure in place for this storm season.”
“The Galveston Housing Authority has had a review of the evacuation and recovery policy,” said Randy Jensen of the GHA. “It’s totally up to date for 2012. Our first meeting with staff will be May 17. We’re following through with employee training after that.”
Barbara Sanderson of the Functional Needs Response Team said that Galveston residents can sign up for the city’s evacuation program at the Town Hall Meeting on May 30. She said persons interested in the program also can call (409) 621-3179 for information.
Trey Frankovich reported that Galveston EMS personal are participating in drills and doing additional research on what needs to anticipate, “...getting a rough estimate how many patients will really need ambulance transport out of the different nursing homes in our area.”
Keith Gray, service area director for CenterPoint Energy, reported that his employees will participate in a drill next week and he invited members of the city team to observe it.
“What we do is, we go through a mock hurricane,” Gray said. “It includes everything from evacuation to our operation plans of cutting and clearing getting the most folks on in the least amount of time.”
Port of Galveston Police Chief Bob Pierce said the port is continuing to prepare for disaster/business continuity.
“Other than that, we are ready to go,” Pierce said.
Galveston City Manager Michael Kovacs noted that the city is still working on issues related to recovery from Hurricane Ike.
“Really the magic is in recovery,” he said, stressing that the city’s planning for a future disaster includes recovery.
“I thank you for coming,” said Mayor Joe Jaworski toward the end of the meeting. “It is very important that we have these monthly meetings so that we are prepared.”
Emergency Management Coordinator Charlie Kelly announced that a mass casualty drill will be held in the Gulf of Mexico across from the Galveston Island Convention Center prior to the Hurricane Town Hall Meeting on May 30.
The next meeting of the Hurricane Preparedness Team will be on June 5.
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