Editorial board opinion: Hurricane was reminder to be prepared
By By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 8, 2010 at 2:08 a.m.
We were fortunate that Hurricane Alex did not come near us. The rain we received was needed, and the chance to run through hurricane preparedness plans was advantageous.
Many of us were probably relieved the hurricane moved into Mexico because we had no energy to put up plywood, shop for emergency supplies or just wished it wouldn't happen, and that is a state of denial. However, all of us were left thinking we'd better do better in case another hurricane threatens us. We think the sooner you go through your checklist, the more you will be satisfied when a serious storm comes ashore in our area. Hurricane Alex was a wake-up call.
And Victoria County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeb Lacey called the Hurricane Alex event a "bittersweet occurrence." Bitter in terms of the lives the storm took in Mexico and the damage it caused there and in South Texas. Sweet, because Lacey and preparedness teams were able to go through their emergency strategies, brush up on them and look for improvements.
"Every time you do it in any type of emergency - hurricane or hazmat - you're definitely going to be better," Lacey said.
But, on the other hand, Lacey said emergency plans are always being refined to improve response.
"(Hurricane Alex) was another opportunity to try improvements and make sure it is an improvement," he said.
Lacey said Victoria County is fortunate because all of the emergency management protocols "went into effect successfully."
An example of the protocols, he said, is the first one to increase preparedness, start planning process well in advance and think through processes on how to respond. He said during the first protocol, emergency management reaches out to partners: power transmission distribution companies, businesses leaders and educational institutions, as well as public and private entities that provide for special needs (hospitals, elderly care homes, and outpatient and inpatient care providers). This first step as well as others were successful.
While no one wishes a hurricane on somebody else, we can say we were fortunate for this "dry run."
We think practice makes perfect, and in this case, the exercise also prepares one for the worst, or, at the very least, begins the thought process to be prepared.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.