Communication is Critical
The Saturday February 13, 2021, Rockport Pilot had an above the fold article about freezing weather coming to the area which was mainly a weather forecast along with information about roads and bridges from TXDOT – Corpus Christi. In its Saturday February 17, 2021 edition, in its above the fold article, you can read about how cold it was, ERCOT and AEP statement along with some local information on police and fire. Paragraph four of this article does say that local shelters had been opened two days previous.
A perusal of the Aransas County website shows absolutely nothing about the artic freeze, precautions to take, power restoration, water concerns or any other useful information. An extensive search of this site revealed there was nothing about Emergency Management either.
A search on the City of Rockport website reveals nothing with respect to artic blast, preparations for below freezing weather, etc.
The Aransas County Pathway to Recovery Facebook Page has seven posts about County closures (mostly the courthouse) and one about ERCOT posted 17 hours after the release from AEP Texas. This Facebook page is maintained by the county’s Public Information Officer.
Code Red had two blasts. One was on February 15 announcing continued cold weather along with Fulton and Lamar Fire Stations open for shelter. The other was on February 16 stating Aransas County is in a Stage 4 Emergency Water Shortage Condition with information on reporting burst pipes and boil notice for those using “City” water.
State Senator Lois Kolkhurst is doing her best to get information out. Follow her on Facebook.
As always, Wendy Laubach is doing her best to get us all information. You can check out her Facebook page or check out the Rockport/Fulton or Aransas County public pages for reposts.
If you are looking for anything from the City of Rockport or County of Aransas, do not waste your time.
Has anybody seen this before? 300 COVID 19 vaccines available but we are not going to tell anyone? How about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the poor information flow?
Once again, our leaders have issues with communication. We must continue to rely on each other with heresy, rumor and word of mouth. And, of course, we will get information from chicken littles who really do think the sky is falling and it is all a conspiracy. Yes, we are Texans and can take care of ourselves, but we do still look to government for information and leadership.
IN AN EMERGENCY, COMMUNICATION IS KEY! Wait! This below freezing weather is an emergency! Is the Emergency Operations Center open? Emergency Management is mostly about preparations. We get all kinds of repeat information on hurricanes so why not put out information about below freezing preparations? This weather did not just show up. Alan Holt (KIII Weather) had this in the forecast about seven days before it happened.
Since no one from the County or City or Emergency Management got out information to prepare for below freezing weather, I will.
In the future, ensure you ask someone who has been through a particular type of emergency before what to do in preparation. Gas and propane should have been topped off beforehand. Get some non-perishable food on hand. Bottled water is always a good idea to have on hand. These things are for any emergency. Let me repeat that – THESE THINGS ARE FOR ANY EMERGENCY!
For this particular emergency, there was no need to have the heat in your house above 68 degrees and turn it down to 58-60 while sleeping. Drip your outside faucets. Wrap exposed pipes if at all possible. Moving water does not freeze. Cover or move outside plants to protect them from freezing. Bring your cats and dogs inside or at least out of the weather (garage or other outside space that is covered and protected from wind). If you have chickens, goats, pigs, etc., ensure they have a place to be that is covered and protected from the wind. Heaters are strongly recommended for chickens when the air temperature is below 35 degrees.
Lastly, if you have not, please check on your neighbors.