Mitigation is taking action to reduce potential disaster damages to the community BEFORE a disaster threatens. It is the first phase of disaster planning and operations. Hazard Mitigation activities focus on enhancing our knowledge of hazards, understanding their consequences, and implementing appropriate actions designed to reduce those consequences to save lives and reduce damages. Hazard Mitigation is essentially the common sense application of knowledge to save lives and prevent damages from occurring.
Disasters Typical to Corpus Christi
The first step to mitigating the damage from disaster is to understand what the risks are to Corpus Christi residents: Hurricanes or other tropical weather, Tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, standing water flooding, radioactive incident, armed or terrorist attacks, transportation mishaps, or civil unrest.
Typical Problems Caused by Most Disasters:
- Prolonged loss of energy systems
- Loss of communications
- Loss of public services including police and fire
- Debris blocked streets
- Destruction of property
- Live power lines
- Contaminated water/environment
Disaster Preparedness is a natural part of living in South Texas, and it is everyone's responsibility. For comprehensive information on how to prepare your household for the disasters we may face here in Corpus Christi, use the links on the Ready Corpus Christi site. You will find many tips that will detail how to protect your family and household and your business.
Response to disaster is the function of first responders: Fire-rescue, police, hospitals and other trained emergency personnel. When a large scale event has occurred such as a flood or hurricane, that response needs to be coordinated. Hurricanes, fortunately, give us warning, but there are other risks that threaten Corpus Christi that can occur without warning. In addition to activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and coordinating the response, OEM has several programs that prepare the City for disaster.
Hazardous Materials Response
Chemicals make much of our modern life possible, especially in Texas. Those refreshing backyard pools are kept clean by chlorine products, which in concentrated form is a deadly gas. OEM and the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and has coordinated the response to chemical spills with municipal fire department units.
Reducing terrorism attacks comes in the form of being prepared for the consequences. Preparation is focused on responders like police, fire-rescue and medical facilities. Medical facilities are normally impacted very heavily after a multi-casualty incident or attack. Therefore, preparing the medical community is the center of Corpus Christi's anti-terrorism response.
Medical Response System
In partnership with local, State and Federal government agencies, OEM is formalizing a Medical Response System (MRS) in order to increase the capabilities to respond to a mass casualty incident such as a chemical weapon attack by a terrorist group.
Recovery is the hardest phase of a disaster and requires personal and community motivation. It also requires advance planning for how we're going to recover. OEM coordinates the early stages of recovery, and guides assistance from the State of Texas and the Federal government.
Debris Removal Program
Hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters spread debris throughout an area, blocking streets, clogging drainage canals, closing airports and creating unsafe conditions. Roads blocked by debris means that communities may be cut off from the normal rapid response by their police and fire-rescue units. The faster that debris is cleared the sooner utility repair crews can restore services and businesses can re-open.
The program has divided the city into zones, identified major roads to allow emergency vehicles safe passage, and sends designated removal teams to quickly clear debris.
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC's)
After a disaster, the public will need access to three basic things: 1) access to emergency services, 2) information, and 3) recovery supplies and services. This means opening Disaster Recovery Centers in Corpus Christi to have neighborhood-based, easily located centers to to assist our citizens.
The City has teamed up with county, state and federal governments, and volunteer agencies to open Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) after an incident has occurred as places for residents to go to receive vital services. DRCs will open in three phases depending on the needs of the community.