Getting Ready for Ike

As Hurricane Ike nears the Texas coast, members of the Capital Metro Emergency Team are conferring with other municipal, state and federal groups to help people stay safe.

This morning at 6 a.m., a Capital Metro radio dispatcher reported to the Emergency Operations Center for the Austin area to plan for the arrival of Hurricane Ike. When potential community emergencies arise, the Office of Emergency Management sets in motion a convergence of community leaders, first responders, hospital and social services staff, city staff, and transportation providers to the Combined Transportation, Emergency and Communications Center. CTECC is a high-tech facility designed to provide coordination between the dispatch units of 911, police, fire, EMS, Travis County sheriff and constable, Capital Metro, and TxDOT. The Capital Metro radio dispatchers work from this location.

Capital Metro’s involvement in the preparations for Hurricane Ike are twofold: we’ll provide transportation services to evacuees arriving from areas along the Texas coast, transporting people to/from shelters, hospitals and the airport; and, we must also prepare for the safe operation of our regular bus service, given that Austin may receive tropical storm-force wind and rain.

Our liaison to the emergency team sends out regular reports from the Emergency Operations Center to Capital Metro, alerting us to upcoming transportation needs. Earlier today he reported that more than 100 buses full of evacuees from the Galveston area would arrive in Austin this evening. Our buses will be “on call” to help transport them as needed to area shelters and hospitals.

Capital Metro helped transport Gustav evacuees with medical conditions. Photo by Austin American-Statesman Photographer Kelly West.

During the evacuation effort for Hurricane Gustav, Capital Metro transported evacuees with special medical needs from the airport to the Delco Center.

If severe weather comes to the Austin area as a result of Hurricane Ike, it is possible some of Capital Metro’s services will be suspended or delayed. Safety of our passengers, bus operators and our buses is our top priority. Current information will be posted on the Capital Metro Web site as it is available.

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