How does the City of Live Oak prepare for an emergency?
In addition to your own personal plan, the City of Live Oak has an emergency management program as required by Live Oak City Ordinance #1375, dated June 24th, 2008. In accordance with the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, the responsibility for emergency preparedness rests with the senior elected official – the Mayor - who holds the title of Director of Emergency Management. An Emergency Management Coordinator manages the overall program on a daily basis.
The Office of Emergency Management, or OEM, is responsible for identifying all potential hazards to our citizens and the business community. The OEM is responsible for creating a hazardous mitigation study which is the basis of our preparedness program. The Coordinator also oversees evacuation planning, direction and control, which includes establishing and maintaining the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located within the Fire Department facility.
The City’s emergency management plan is composed of a Basic Plan and twenty-two (22) functional annexes covering various subjects such as Communications, Evacuation, Fire & Rescue, Law Enforcement, Hazard Mitigation, and Terrorism. The OEM Coordinator has developed these plan annexes in conjunction with other key department heads such as the Police and Fire Chiefs.
The State of Texas has an outstanding emergency preparedness program handled by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). This agency is part of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and their offices are located in Austin, Texas, three (3) stories underground, beneath the Headquarters of the Department of Public Safety building on North Lamar Ave. Included within their underground offices is the State Operations Center (SOC) which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During a crisis, a representative of every State agency arrives at the SOC to coordinate and direct operations. There are 24 District Coordinators (DCs) located at various district DPS offices including the office in San Antonio. In addition to the coordinators, each DPS Captain or Lieutenant in charge of that office is designated the Chairperson of the local Disaster District Committee or DDC.
In the event of a major incident or an actual disaster, the Mayor has the authority under the Texas Disaster Act to declare a “State of Emergency” or sign an actual “Disaster Declaration.” Once signed by the Mayor, the City’s emergency plans are activated giving the Mayor all of the powers of the Act. Some examples of these powers include establishing curfews; ordering both voluntary and mandatory evacuations, implementing wage and price controls and, if necessary, restricting utility usage.
In a disaster the City would first utilize our resources, then call on mutual aid resources from surrounding jurisdictions, the County, and then to the local DPS for State assistance. The Mayor, as Director, can request whatever assistance is needed - including asking the Governor for the deployment of the Texas National Guard.