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Michael McLemore

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

The Sugar Land Fire Department makes every effort to prepare for potential emergencies. This includes large-scale incidents of long durations such as hurricanes. In order for fire personnel to be prepared, we must first prepare our families and homes. We then prepare our fire stations to weather the storm and gear up to respond to our citizens. Storms are challenging incidents requiring close coordination of all city departments and multiple agencies from other jurisdictions. The fire department’s ability to partner with City departments and surrounding agencies is facilitated by the Sugar Land Emergency Management Department. This department is staffed by Director Patrick Hughes, Assistant Director Michael Clanton and Administrative Assistant Gloria Walker.

Emergency Management is responsible for planning, mitigating and recovering from emergencies, including tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding and other large scale incidents that require coordination of multiple departments and or jurisdictions. They are the central point for coordinated communications during and after emergencies, and they ensure an organized, coordinated response to large-scale incidents that exceed normal day to day emergencies.

Emergency Management is responsible for the city’s All-Hazards Emergency Management Plan. Their primary mission is to coordinate emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts with all city departments, citizens and surrounding communities. An important part of their work is training and exercises involving city employees from all departments, surrounding agencies and volunteers from the community.

Who, What, When, Where and Why

All citizens need to prepare ahead of time for emergencies, especially those who live along the Gulf Coast. Advance preparation is a necessity.

Although Sugar Land is considered a pass-through community and we do not anticipate the need to evacuate prior to a hurricane’s landfall, every family should plan for the possibility of evacuations. Be sure to have copies of important documents such as insurance policies, family immunization records and banking information. Spending money and prescriptions will also be important for those displaced from their homes.

It is also important to prepare for the possibility of sheltering at home for extended periods of time and the possibility of being without power. Planning for food, water and necessities should be done well in advance of emergencies. Most emergencies that affect regional areas will cause supplies to disappear from store shelves quickly.

Once you have planned for all possibilities, store everything where it’s easily accessible within your house. Also prepare your car for situations where you might be caught in traffic for extended periods of time. Important supplies include blankets, food, water, UL approved gasoline container, flash light, batteries, games for kids, etc.

Have “Go Kits” packed and ready to go at all times. Keep one in the car and another at your house. Check them periodically throughout the year.

The focus for Emergency Management is community preparedness, effective communications, public education, continuity of operations and public safety. For more preparedness information, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov and click on the Emergency Management tab under departments.

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This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

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