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Commissioner Cook's Commentary on Wilco's Emergency Response to Hurricane Laura

  • 1 September 2020
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1248

WOW – imagine the late-night scramble to contact and arrange all of these rooms. Ad-hoc shelter management teams were formed across the county with our city partners. In summary, our Wilco motel/hotel managers were fantastic. I’ll let you know in Travis County, some evacuees got to stay at the W Hotel – how’s that for accommodations?

Well, down at COTA, it was a scramble as well. Wilco’s Chris Connealy, Executive Director of Emergency Management, and Michael Shoe, Director of Emergency Management, were our coordinators there along with some Travis County personnel. There were 200 vehicles/hour arriving; the Travis County check-in was requiring 15 minutes per vehicle – Wilco streamlined that and drivers were recognizing that our line was moving much faster and switched over!

Many vehicles were low on fuel, and many drivers were low on cash. Wilco brought in a tanker truck and scrambled to acquire gas cards. Of course, our dynamo, Annie Burwell, Director of our Mobile Outreach Team, is queen of the gas card donors from her work and helped to acquire them (many churches and non-profits were involved). Food needed to be brought in and got local restaurants on-board.

Let’s look at the many groups who participated in the emergency response to Laura and the evacuees:

Sheltering: Animal Shelter, County Auditor, EMS, Emergency Services, Fire Marshal, HR, Information Technology Services, Parks and Recreation, Tax Assessor/Collector’s office, Public Affairs & purchasing.

Sheltering-Cities:  Cedar Park, Georgetown, Hutto, Round Rock & Taylor

Volunteer Agencies:  American Red Cross, Austin Disaster Relief Network, Salvation Army

1st Responders Dispatched to the Coastal areas:  Georgetown, Hutto & Round Rock

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