Baytown firefighters participate in Hurricane simulation - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Baytown firefighters participate in Hurricane simulation

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A category three to four hurricane is close to hitting the shores of Baytown. That is the situation dozens of city employees prepared for at the nation's top emergency training center in Maryland.

"We went through pre-land fall, the actual response at the landfall, and then we advanced 72 hours forward for recovery and what are the things we actually had to do for a storm," said City Manager Brian Leiper and his crew were invited by FEMA to take part in the exercise. The team worked out of an emergency operations center similar to the one in Baytown.

"They would give us a situation the same as a citizen calling in or reports from the police department," said Leiper.

That means reports of flooding, hospitals without power, and buildings burning. To Mayor Stephen DonCarlos it's a scenario he's heard before, about four years ago during hurricane Ike.

"The more we learn and the more we practice the better we'll be when, not if we get hit with another storm," said DonCarlos.

City officials say some changes were made to the emergency plan following Ike and this exercise could add to those changes.

"Our policy team came up with the idea of requiring any new gas station to have a connection where the city can bring out a generator and get the gas station open," said Leiper.

Harris County Emergency Management's Francisco Sanchez joined Baytown in the exercise, he says the most important part of handling this or any emergency situation isn't just planning and recovery but also communication between agencies.

"Harris County working with Baytown in this exercise means when we have to respond to a hurricane in the future our plans will be better integrated and it'll be better for the public as well," said Sanchez.

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