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Brazos County Prepares as Evacuation Hub

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

Bryan/College Station has always been a safe haven for gulf coast residents trying to escape disaster.

But now that our area is officially a designated evacuation hub, local emergency workers are getting organized and getting ready to host thousands of evacuees.

We're 28 days into hurricane season, but local emergency workers would be ready tomorrow if one hit.

Brazos County is an evacuation hub for Brazoria, Harris and Galveston counties, capable of sheltering $20,000 people.

A statewide evacuation exercise has counties getting ready for the worst.

"There's a lot of people that have spent a lot of time over the last two years to make this a reality and we're prepared, we are ready for any event," said Brian Hilton, Emergency Management Coordinator for College Station.

Signs along Highway 6 will lead evacuees to Gateway Blvd.

Evacuees will fill out information cards so emergency workers can assign them to a shelter.

"If they have pets, they'll go to a pet-friendly shelter. If they have special needs, they'll go to a specific shelter. We felt this was the best way to do this," said Hilton.

Even the most helpless victims of a disaster, won't have to stay behind.

"They're part of the family and you can't leave them behind, especially when you're in a shelter but you know your pet is in danger," said TC Crippen.

Hundreds of displaced animals were housed at the Brazos Animal Shelter after the wrath of Hurricane Ivan.

So to avoid people staying behind with their pets, local shelters will be equipped so evacuees can still care for their animals.

"We don't want to take the pets away in that kind of situation," said Crippen.

Every detail has been covered, and now with training -- Brazos County will be a comfort during a crisis.

"When you get to set foot on the ground you find all kinds of hiccups. They're easily fixed and you want to improve on them so it's very important to us to give it a dry run," said Hilton.

Well before things get wet.

If you'd like to be a foster home for evacuated pets call Cynthia Sheffield at 574-7725 or if you want information on how to help call the Brazos County Emergency Management Office.


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