By Ernie Williamson The Bulletin
Steve Rosa, Brazoria County’s emergency management coordinator, didn’t hesitate when asked what keeps him awake at night.
It’s educating our county’s swelling population about hurricanes. He worries many newcomers have no idea about hurricane preparedness, evacuation zones and shelters. They haven’t experienced the power of Mother Nature, he says.
As part of its effort to educate residents about hurricanes, the county will hold a Hurricane and Disaster Preparedness Expo at the county fairgrounds on June 17 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The expo is open to the public. Admission and parking are free. The program will feature presentations on the National Weather Service, generator safety, emergency preparedness for pets and preparing your yard for the season.
Unable to attend? The Brazoria County Office of Emergency Management also has the official 2023 Brazoria County Disaster Guide on its website.
As a journalist who has gone through more than 50 hurricane seasons, I have seen my share of disaster guides. But I have never seen anything as comprehensive as this disaster guide. It has checklists on everything from tips on what to take with you when evacuating to evacuating livestock.
As hurricane season becomes more active, I suggest you check it out. The information could save your life or the lives of others around you.
Of course, our area has more than hurricanes to worry about.
Tasked with saving lives and preventing the loss of property, Rosa and his staff also deal with flooding, river stages, rip tides, heat safety, hazardous material incidents and active shooters.
The team also works with industry to prevent domestic terrorism.
Rosa’s staff is now working from a new $8 million building in Angleton. The state contributed $5 million to the cost, and the county paid the rest.
The building is built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. “That means we aren’t leaving, no matter what,” says Rosa.
Rosa says on a normal “blue sky day” there are four people in the building, but in the event of an emergency the staffing can swell to 60 or even 100 as other county departments pitch in to help.
In addition to the website, the emergency management office has developed a user-friendly mobile app that will help county residents stay informed during and after a disaster.
The Brazoria County Emergency Management app provides emergency notifications, latest alerts, information on shelters, a library of resources and current river levels.
For those of us who are disabled or elderly and may not be able to drive during an emergency, the app also provides instructions on how to register with S.T.E.A.R., the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry.
(Contact Ernie at email@example.com. Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)