Bill King’s heart may be pounding harder and faster than anyone’s in the nation. For the past two years, King – the mayor of Kemah, a small town on the west side of Galveston – had been waging a campaign, “writing letters to newspapers and meeting with officials in the governor’s office, urging the creation of a mandatory evacuation law” in the event of a major hurricane.
As a result of King’s efforts, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a bill into law giving county judges and mayors the authority to order mandatory evacuations before a hurricane strike. That power was taken advantage of today. That’s the good news. The bad news? The bill was signed in July 2005, just over 2 months ago.
Because state and local authorities have had very little time to practice their evacuation plans, three major concerns exist:
1) Galveston’s Hazardous Sites Need To Be Properly Evacuated
On May 18, 2005, the Houston Chronicle reported, “Among other concerns for coastal Texans is the plethora of industrial sites, many of which deal with hazardous chemicals. Disaster preparation experts with local industries and Galveston County held a workshop Tuesday. ‘I’ve seen some really bad things happen when people were not ready to shut it down right,’ said Lew Fincher, the vice president of Hurricane Consulting Inc., a safety and preparedness consultant.”