Lessons learned from past natural disasters

A look into some of the lessons the Houston area has learned from past disasters.

HOUSTON- Hurricane Matthew is a reminder that mother nature can pack a punch and lessons from previous natural disasters can help prepare the Houston area for future threats.

"No matter how well we do something, there's always lesson to improve," said Francisco Sanchez with the Office of Emergency Management. "The evacuations during Hurricane Rita taught us that we can do evacuations better."

Sanchez remembered the difficulty in evacuating people as everyone hit the road at the same time.

"There wasn't enough fuel supply along the evacuation corridors, the evacuation maps weren't easy to read and there was no plan yet for how to do contraflow," said Sanchez. 

The gridlock caused serious problems for drivers, many of them ran out of gas. 

"Now we work with fuel suppliers to make sure that evacuation routes have plenty of fuel before a hurricane comes," said Sanchez.

People are now evacuated by zip code. Those in surge zones are evacuated first. 

When Hurricane Ike hit, he limited evacuations and lengthy power outages brought various challenges.

"We need to really have a kit at home to be able to be without power for seven to ten days," said Sanchez. ""Have a plan, know what you're going to do and who you're going to contact."

More than 8 years later, the message is the same: stay informed and prepare for the worst. 

(© 2016 KHOU)


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