Brownsville Texas is located in approximately 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and it is vulnerable to a major hurricane like Hurricane Katrina that devastated much of Louisiana in 2005. During Hurricane Katrina many of the things when wrong because emergency leaders were because, emergency managers were not prepared for the after mass of the hurricane. It is important for a city to have a structured Emergency Operations Plan in place in the event of a major hurricane. This will help make emergency operations run smooth and emergency managers make important decisions. Hurricanes are measured in Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This gives the hurricane a rating of 1 to 5 based on its sustained wind speed (NOAA, 2013). The rating is also based on the amount of damage a hurricane can create once it makes land fall. For example “any storm that reaches a sustained wind speed of 74-95 miles per hour (mph) is considered a category 1 hurricane” (NOAA, 2013). Any hurricane that reaches a sustained wind speed of 111-129 mph is category 3 hurricane and it falls in a major hurricane category. Category 3 hurricanes and higher are considered the most dangerous and have the potential to create the most damage (NOAA, 2013).
1.Purpose of the plan
The purpose of this plan is to establish an Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) that will provide guild lines and procedures for emergency managers in the event of a major hurricane in the South Texas area. The Emergency Operations Plan will show the vulnerabilities of the City of Brownsville, major concerns that city managers have, contact information for local hospitals, Fire Department, Police Station and it will also help emergency managers coordinate operations with local, State and Federal Agencies. It will also indicate the location of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Unified Command Center. The EOC leader or manager will have complete command and control of all emergency operation, before, during and after the hurricane has made landfall in the city of Brownsville. The EOC will be the primary base of operations throughout the disaster.
This means that all emergency operations will be coordinated through the EOC and all emergency managers and team leaders will report to the EOC, as soon as they arrive on scene and before any operations start. The EOP will establish a chain of command that will be followed by all agencies and private organizations involved in emergency operations. This will include all local, State and Federal agencies assisting or participating in the EOP. The EOP will also indicate the locations of the primary and secondary EOC. The secondary location for the EOC will be used in the event that they primary location of the EOC is damaged during the hurricane and can no longer be safely used to conduct emergency operations.
The EOP will also indicate who will participate in the emergency operations and what role they will have throughout emergency operations, before, during and after the hurricane. This will help emergency managers better utilize the resources that will be available to them. This will also help emergency managers plan and execute emergency operations in a safe and protective manner. The goal of the emergency plan is to provide as much information as possible to the community before the hurricane makes land fall. During and after the hurricane mission is to save as many lives as possible. This will be done through conducting emergency operations, providing medical care to the injured and by establishing temporary shelters to people that have had to evacuate their homes.
Brownsville, Texas is located in South Texas and is a city that is approximately 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The cities or communities along the Gulf of Mexico coast line are vulnerable to a potential hurricane during hurricane season. Hurricane season normally starts on June 1st and ends on November 30th (Brownsville Herald, 2014). This is the time when tropical storms form out in the Gulf of Mexico. But not all storms that form are considered hurricanes. When a storm becomes a hurricane, they are considered very dangerous storms because they have the potential cause a lot of damage. This EOP is designed to be put into action in the event of a category 3 hurricane or higher threatens the city of Brownsville.
A category 3 hurricane can bring rains that can last for a long period of time. This can cause floods in certain parts of the city, the high winds are also a major concern because “framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends (NOAA, 2013). These high winds can also break trees that can cause roads to be blocked for long periods of time. A category 3 or higher hurricane can also affect the electricity and running water in the city. This means that people in many communities throughout the city can be left without running water or electricity for days.
Assuming a category 4 hurricane in enroute to the Gulf of Mexico coast and it will directly affect the city of Brownsville, emergency managers have a plan in place to start warning the community of the threat the 4 hurricane poses. This is done by using the media and providing up to date information on the status of the hurricane. At least five days before the hurricane makes land fall emergency managers need to start providing the community with up to date information on the hurricane. This will include strength of the hurricane and the potential damage it will create. Emergency managers should make plans to conduct emergency operations for at least 24 to 48 hours after the hurricane makes land fall. This will include the first responder’s response time and evacuation operations if they are needed. Evacuating people from the local hospitals is a priority. At least five days before the hurricane makes landfall hospitals should need to contact and make arrangements for the hospitals to be evacuated (DSHS.TX, 2013).
4.Concept of Operations
The concept of emergency operations plan is to create a unified response to the threat of a category 4 hurricane. The will be done by creating establishing a chain of command that all agencies and private organizations can follow. The EOP will keep the community informed of any changes or any important information that they will need before, during and after the hurricane. The EOP will also establish a Unified Command Center where different agencies can work together with one common goal. The goal is to save and protect as many people as possible from the threat of hurricane. This can be done by providing early warning of the hurricane and establishing a chain of command. This is will also help emergency managers effectively us all the resources that they have at their disposal. The EOP will also establish a list of agencies and organizations that will be involved in the emergency planning and any operations during the disaster.
5.Organization and Assignment of Responsibilities
The Brownsville Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will be the lead agency in charge of all emergency operations (OEMHS). OEMHS is responsible for planning and efforts to mitigate the effects of, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters whether natural or man-made (COB, 2011). The local, State and Federal agencies and private organizations that will be involved in the EOP will be:
A.Brownsville Police Department
B.Cameron County Sherriff’s Office
C.Brownsville Public Works Department
D.Texas Department of Public Safety
E.Brownsville Fire Department
F.United States Border Patrol
G.United States Coast Guard
H.Texas Army National Guard
I.American Red Cross
These agencies are considered first responders and will play a very important role in the EOP. Each of these agencies will have specific mission and will provide assistance to the community as it is needed. The assistance can be anything from helping people evacuate from their home to assisting in the city evacuation route. Each agency will have a representative at the Unified Command Center. This means that all operations and assignments will be given to the first responders from the Unified Command Center. A.Brownsville Police Department
The Brownsville Police Department will maintain a command post at the Brownsville Police Department. Their representative will coordinate any and all operations through the Unified Command Center. The Brownsville Police Department will also assist in closing street or roads that are considered dangerous or that might possibly flood. They will also maintain public order and ensure that the public stays away from areas that are considered dangerous. They will also enforce any curfews that are order by emergency managers. B.Cameron County Sherriff’s Office
The Cameron County Sherriff’s Office will assist the Brownsville Police Department in enforcing road closers and any curfews that are set in place. They will also maintain a command post at the Sheriff’s Office. They will also maintain a command center at the Sherriff’s Office. This will help coordinate emergency operations and asses the needs of their officers. They will also assist in the evacuation of any people that are need of assistance. The Sherriff’s Office will also help identify disabled and elderly people that might need to be evacuated before or after the hurricane has made landfall. C.Brownsville Public Works Department
Brownsville Public Works Department will in charge of placing closer sign around the city streets that have been identified as flood areas. They will also place signs on the highway that will identify the emergency evacuation routes. The Public Works Department will also be in charge of evaluating the damage to the roads and street in Brownsville after the hurricane has passed (COB, 2001). This will help emergency managers identify the streets that can be used during emergency operations and will also identify the streets that need to be fixed during recovery operations. They are also in charge of clearing the city’s drainage system. Clearing the drainage pipes is very important task, because it will help clear the water from some of the flooded areas. This will also help speed up the recovery operations around the city. They will also maintain an agency representative at the Unified Command Center to help coordinate any emergency operations within their agency. D.Texas Department of Public Safety
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will in charge of all evacuation routes (TXDOT, 2014). They will coordinate with city managers and establish an evacuation route 72 to 60 hours before the hurricane makes landfall (TXDPS, 2013). DPS will also coordinate with the city’s public works and coordinate the road closers along the highway. This will limit the access to the evacuation route to only controlled entry points. This will help DPS maintain control of the traffic coming in and out of the evacuation route. DPS will also coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in the area and will assign specific duties in regards to the evacuation routes. DPS will set of refueling station for vehicles that need gas along the evacuation route. DPS will also have a representative at the Unified Command Center. They will also set up a command center at their main office, this will help them coordinate and support their operations. E.Brownsville Fire Department
The Brownsville Fire Department (BFD) will play a very important role in any and all emergency operations. The BFD is highly training and equipped to handle any emergency. They have boats and breaching equipment that could be used to get people out of flooded areas. The BFD will also help establish a triage center that will help evaluate any injuries and help prioritize any medical emergencies. The will maintain personal in the Unified Command Center and will help coordinate with emergency operations from their main office. They will also assist as a liaison between the local hospitals in the immediate area. This will help evacuate the injured and facilitate operations in the triage center. F.United States Border Patrol
The United States Border Patrol will maintain a show of force during all emergency operations in the Brownsville area. They will assist DPS with any and all evacuation operations and they will help enforce road closers throughout the city. This will establish a base of operations at their local Border Patrol Station and will respond to any emergency that might arise. The Border Patrol will also maintain a law enforcement presence in the city and the surrounding areas. The Border Patrol has the capability to respond to any emergency and can sustain law enforcement and emergency operations before, during and after the hurricane makes landfall. G.United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard will assist in the evacuation of people in the immediate and mandatory areas. They will also help supply small boats that the emergency responders can get into flooded areas. The Coast Guard will also maintain a representative at the Unified Command Center. H.Texas Army National Guard
In the event that the Texas Army National Guard is needed, the Brownsville Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will make a formal request to the Governor’s Office. The Texas Army National Guard will be notified of their activation at least 72 hours before the hurricane makes landfall (TXDPS, 2013). The Texas Army National Guard will assist agencies evacuate people if needed. They will not assist in any enforcement operations as per State law. After the hurricane makes landfall they will assist in rescue operations and they will set up food and water distribution sites. Any medical personal will report to the triage center, they will then help treat and evaluate the injured. The Texas Army National Guard will coordinate with the Fire and Police Departments and will assist them in any rescue operations that they are needed in. The Texas Army National Guard can provide assistance with personal, equipment and air support. I.American Red Cross
The American Red Cross and provide assistance in many different ways during a major emergency. In the event of a hurricane or any major disaster American Red Cross will be in charge of establishing shelters around the city of Brownsville. They will also register and keep track of the number of people at a shelter at any given time. They will also be in charge of distributing food, cloth and personal items to the people that need them. They will assist emergency managers set up food distribution locations throughout the city for emergency responders. They will provide assistance to people that been separated from their family members. This will help reunite families that have been separated during rescue or evacuation operations. J.Local Hospitals
Brownsville has two main hospitals that will need to be kept informed of the statue of the hurricane. In the event of a category 4 hurricane the hospitals will shut down and will only take in emergency patients. This would be patients that need immediate medical attention or that have life threating injuries that need to be attended too. The two hospitals in the city of Brownsville are: •Valley Regional Medical Center is located at 100A E. Alton Gloor Bvd, Brownsville, Texas. •Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville is located at 1040 West Jefferson Brownsville, Texas K.Private Businesses
In the event of a major disaster the Brownsville Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will make arrangements with local businesses to coordinate supplies and equipment that might be needed during a hurricane. The business will provide food, water and any equipment that might be needed by first responders, for example pumps, generators and shovels. The OEMHS’s finance department will keep track of all the equipment and supplies that are received are ordered and received by private businesses. This will help keep track of what is being used and what supplies are needed. Any special equipment that needs to be ordered or requested will be done by the OEMHS’s finance department. This will help keep track of the money that is being spent. 6.Administration and logistics
The Brownsville Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will coordinate all emergency operations in the City of Brownsville. The Unified Command Center will have a team of representatives of each agency that are involved in emergency operations as well as representatives from the State and Federal government. The will get continuous updates of the situation and will make decisions on any issues. They will also provide logistical support to all emergency operations as it is needed. This means that they as they receive information or requests for any equipment or support the OEMHS will address this situation and take action. 7.Plan development and maintenance
The OEMHS is responsible for developing the EOP in coordination with the agencies that will be involved in the plan. This means that the OEMHS will meet with the different agencies that will participate in the plan and address any issues they might have with the EOP. It is the responsibility of the OEMHS to keep the EOC updated. Every year there are changes to roads, hazards and other things that might affect emergency operations. It is the responsibility of the OEMHS to maintain the plan and to ensure that it is up to date. It is the responsibility of the OEMHS to coordinate training with the agencies involved. The OEMHS should also coordinate ensure that the city managers that will in charge of the EOP be certified and maintain their certification through FEMA. 8.Authorities
The authorities that will be in charge of all emergency operations will be the Brownsville Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The OEMHS is responsible to address any and all jurisdictional issues that an agency might have. This EOC is designed to be used during a major hurricane but it is flexible and can be used for any other kind of disaster. Communications
Communications is a very important part of the EOP. In the event of a major hurricane or any other kind of disaster, communications will play a very big part in emergency operations. During emergency operation all agencies involved will use TXLAW 1, as the primary radio frequency. This will ensure that all agency managers and team leader are able to communicate with the EOP.
All agency dispatchers and agency managers will monitor TXLAW 1 throughout emergency operations. This will continue until all emergency operations have stopped or the agency in no longer participating in any emergency operations. If an agency does not have radios with the TXLAW1 frequency, the OEMHS will provide radios to the agency command post and team leaders during emergency operations. Radios will be provided to private organizations like the Red Cross that will set up staging areas, establish shelters and coordinate distributions site. Team leaders and managers will remain in contact with the Unified Command Center all times. In conclusion the EOP will establish guideline that emergency managers can follow. This will help them set up a structured chain of command and establish emergency operations in the event of a major disaster or hurricane. This plan is flexible and can be changed or modified as it is required for any disaster. It is very important the OEMHS provides continues training and maintain the EOP up to date. This will ensure that emergency operations are conducted in a safe and productive manner.
Reagan, M., (2014, April 10) Early hurricane outlook predicts light season. The Brownsville Herald. Retrieved from