A range of areas were covered, including planning, critical transportation, infrastructure systems, logistics and supply chain management and public health.
AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin and Travis County are preparing for the upcoming winter season and any potential disasters, following the damaging winter storms of February 2021.
On Wednesday, City and County departments, along with other government agencies, volunteer organizations, critical infrastructure and private sector businesses, met at the Austin Convention Center to discuss the needs of the community, if it were to face another severe or prolonged winter storm.
“Today was an opportunity for a number of organizations to discuss possible response and recovery plans following a hypothetical major winter event and its aftermath that would likely impair utilities, transportation and other key infrastructure,” the City of Austin said in a release.
A range of areas were covered, including planning, critical transportation, infrastructure systems, logistics and supply chain management, public health, emergency medical services and communications. The five-hour session also considered how emergency plans might need to be amended or adapted in anticipation of this type of event.
Feedback provided at the event will help support updates to the City of Austin and Travis County policies and procedures, the City said.
Representatives from the City included Austin Mayor Steve Adler, City Manager Spencer Cronk and Travis County Judge Andy Brown. Multiple organizations also invited to attend included grocery stores, retailers, chambers of commerce, hotel and lodging representatives, and other volunteer organizations that provide critical services to the community.
“With every unprecedented event, there are lessons to be learned about our preparation, planning and response,” said Homeland Security Emergency Management Director Juan Ortiz. “Today’s event – which included representatives from government, private sector and non-governmental organizations – is part of that process.”
An audit last month showed the City was unprepared for February’s storms. The audit said the City did not have enough staff and supplies to respond to a severe winter storm. It also says recommendations that were made in the past were not followed and that the City’s lack of preparedness “led to a less effective and disorganized response.”
Residents can visit readycentraltexas.org to learn about the tools available to help with emergency preparedness. Residents are also encouraged to begin building emergency kits and supplies now – including enough water, food, batteries, radio and first aid – for up to seven days.