San Antonio’s emergency operations center has been activated to provide aid to those living on the coast who may get hit the hardest by Tropical Storm Harvey.
There are 175 high water detection systems across Bexar County to inform people when a road is too flooded to drive over. It’s something that Bexar County Public Works says people should be aware of with Harvey on the horizon.
“Areas that we know that we’re going to have to barricade or close off, we’ll pre-place those barricades so that, in the event that we do start seeing high water, crews can go out there immediately,” said Renee Green, the director of Bexar County Public Works.
Green added that the department starts planning for big storms days in advance, but the big decisions are made less than a day before the storm hits.
“We’ll make a decision within 12 to 24 hours of the storm hitting as to whether we’ll keep crews at the service center 24/7,” Green explained.
The department’s role is to take precautionary measures before the storm but the San Antonio Fire Department has boots on the ground when it hits. Every firefighter in the city is swift-water trained.
“They do everything from high-angle rescues to advance rescues,” said Joe Arrington with SAFD. “They’re going to be used more for technical rescues when people are stuck in trees or people are downstream.”
In extreme situations, SAFD can call in regional and state assets as well. But first responders say that it’s simple to stay out of harm’s way.
“Stay inside. If you have to get out, be cognizant of your low water crossings in the area,” Arrington said. “’Turn around, do drown’ is never more true.”
The last time a storm hit the Texas coastline was back in 2011. Tropical Storm Don made landfall. Before that, it was Hurricane Dolly back in 2008.
The state is sending resources to areas closest to the coast, so that help is readily available if needed when the storm hits.