During Dastardly Don’s tropical storm dud, the gulf coast universities prepared to evacuate to Laredo’s TAMIU.
Operation Lone Star is in Laredo and Rio Bravo this week and its goal is to prepare the Medical Brigade for emergencies (too bad it is getting such low attendance).
Operation Lone Star is an annual joint military and civil humanitarian medical mission that takes place along the Texas-Mexico border. The purpose of this collaborative effort is to conduct Medical-Innovative Readiness Training exercises while simultaneously providing free medical services to residents across the Rio Grande Valley
And of course, the day before yesterday I got a big surprise after the loud commotion outside with the Nuevo Laredo gunfire and grenades and helicopters.Ok, so we have these three events this week which brings up a worrisome question. In case of an emergency, what ARE we supposed to do?
I am not talking about calling 911 for something going on outside your house, I mean what is expected of the average citizen in a serious catastrophe?
Yes, we, as a city, can set up shelters and cots for those who come from other cities in emergencies but where is our evacuation route? The medical brigade might be ready tend to loads of people but are those loads of people aware of how to seek them out if the you know what hits the fan?
A friend recently pointed out that when the question of where are the city’s emergency sirens, s/he was met with defensiveness by a certain city official who should know.
So I checked out what the State of Texas asks of municipalities – we can assume we probably met the minimum standards, or at least I hope.
So then I checked online to see what the city of Laredo has for its residents. Well, there is a plan but it still lists Luis Sosa as Fire Chief and Agustin Dovalina as Police Chief… hmmm… how long ago was that?
When thinking of my friend’s comment, I looked for the communications information. Again it looks like all agencies can communicate with each other but who is communicating with the public? I guess I have to keep in mind that this was written for a Homeland Security grant … I’m wondering where is the practical plan?
If there is one for the public, this public (me) doesn’t know.
UPDATE: A couple of years ago I went through a great practical training called CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) from CitizenCorps. Now THAT was practical training for neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it was not for Laredo.
It gives the average citizen a chance to help first responders with gathering information and helping evacuate a neighborhood or keeping people away from danger or simple things. Instead – we have disasters like the El Cenizo wildfires or the Laredo Flood that cause so much resentment and had Mayor Salinas angering people who needed help by not getting his hands dirty or helping with an immediate plan. So much for planning and preparation.