Gustav Preparations Begin

Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck
Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck

Preparations are being made for the possible arrival of 500 hurricane Gustav evacuees to Amarillo.

The site at the Civic Center may be a familiar one this weekend marking the three year anniversary of hurricane Katrina.

The Red Cross and the City of Amarillo are getting emergency crews and volunteers ready to meet the physical and emotional needs of hurricane Gustav victims.

"We've gone down this road before so we're a little more what to expect and Amarillo, Lubbock, El Paso, some of those types of communities were identified in kind of the post Katrina and Rita analysis as good locations to fly people to," says Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck.

Starbuck says the city fire and police departments as well as both local hospitals are also on stand-by this Labor Day weekend. And, the Red Cross is actively recruiting volunteers.

Shelters across the state can fill up quickly during an emergency, and that is why Panhandle teams say they are getting ready now to avoid devastation similar to Katrina and Rita.

Susan Ginn of the Red Cross says, "The truth is the entire state of Texas and all of our Gulf states are preparing so that we don't have the level of disaster that we saw in Katrina, Rita, where people couldn't get out, so what we're looking at is we're actually getting prepared for the possibility of up to 500 evacuees flown out of the Gulf coast and brought to Amarillo."

A training session is being held at the Amarillo headquarters right now and another session is scheduled for tomorrow night at six.

For more information contact the Red Cross at 376-6309.