Sims Assesses Storm Preps

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Looking back at preparations for two hurricanes in the past month, Brazos County Judge Randy Sims is already handing out grades.

First, for Katrina, "it ended up being about a B or a B-," Sims said, "and I think this last one was an A-."

And that's with a quick turn-around and more than double the evacuees in the county.

"We were unorganized with Katrina," according to Sims. "We didn't know what we were facing.">

It's an honest assessment from the county judge, which includes an honest look at the inside of emergency operations. "Controlled chaos is the way I put it, but we got through it," he added.

When asked about the biggest lesson they've learned from the past month, Sims said, "We're not near as good having good transportation from the coast out to get people out in a hurry.

"The second thing we learned is that gasoline becomes a big problem. We need to fill up all of our stations and have supplies on hand here in Brazos County."

Sims also said while the outpouring of volunteers for Katrina was immense, and while people still turned out for Rita -- and thankfully so -- they needed more. "We just had to relieve some of the volunteers out there," he said. "They can't work 24 hours a day."

But of all the issues to be faced with the influx of people to the area, if Sims had to do anything over again in the past month, he would focus on the non-human evacuees a bit more. "I would make arrangements, probably, a little bit better for animals," he said, "because that presents a real big problem when people are bringing animals with them."