The basis for our preparedness program and our emergency management plan is the Local Hazard Analysis Study, which addresses all of the potential hazards that may affect the City. The responsibility for this study rests with the Office of Emergency Management and consists of several parts. It includes:
- An overview of the City (populations, businesses, etc.).
- The analysis itself covering all defined hazards.
- A hazard summary and rating scale for each hazard.
The analysis study covers each potential hazard category as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This includes aircraft accidents, droughts, earthquakes, floods, hazardous materials accidents, power failures, and severe weather events to name a few.
Each potential hazard is outlined with six (6) objectives. They are:
- Control Ability
- Scope of Damage
- Impact on the City
Local Hazard Mitigation Study is UNDER REVIEW and will be available soon.
In accordance with the Mitigation Act of 2000, all jurisdictions were required to have a Mitigation Action Plan. When the impact of this plan was taken up at the State level it was decided that regional plans would be easier to create and this entire program was passed to the Council of Government offices located around the State of Texas. Locally the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) developed and prepared a Regional Mitigation Action Plan which was completed and published in November 2004.
This document provides an in depth review of the entire 12 county AACOG region and the mitigation plans of all jurisdictions involved, including the City of Live Oak. During this process a group of city staff members and citizens were appointed by the City Council to address our mitigation goals and objectives. This document is also available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during normal business hours.
A question that is frequently asked is “What are the transportation routes in and out of the City in the event of an emergency?” While this seems like a valid question the answer is not that simple.
The City of Live Oak is a small community and we only have a few streets that go through the entire City from North to South or from East to West. The main roadways in the City are Interstate Highway 35, Loop 1604, Pat Booker Road, and Toepperwein Road. The main streets within the City are Village Oak Drive, Lone Shadow Trail, Leafy Hollow Drive, Forest Bluff, and maybe Forest Corner. These are known as collector streets meaning they receive traffic from many other streets. They are also the widest streets within the City.
During an evacuation, these main streets will be used most often to move citizens out of an area and to designate the evacuation area. We hope most citizens become familiar with the City in general and they know where certain facilities and businesses are located such as City Hall, the main City Park, Northeast Methodist Hospital, along with the large shopping centers to include The Forum and Gateway Plaza. These locations may be used as reference points during emergencies and when evacuation instructions are given assumptions are made that citizens know where certain places are located.
Learning a little about the City should be an important part of your Family Disaster Plan. Knowing your way around the community could be very important in an emergency. In an evacuation it can be very important that citizens follow directions because there may be a significant hazard in a certain area, such as following a chemical spill. Needless to say we want to keep citizens away from the hazardous area and also away from an area that may already be clogged with emergency vehicles.
Hazardous Materials Transportation Route:
While we are on the subject of transportation, lets' briefly review the hazardous materials transportation route that passes through the City of Live Oak. This was a major issue many years ago as there was not a set route though Bexar County and through the City of San Antonio for the transportation of hazardous chemicals. A serious incident occurred on the interstate in the downtown area of San Antonio that could have been a major disaster. Following that incident the need for a route through the area was a top priority and as such all jurisdictions where the interstate highway passed though became part of a task force to create a route through San Antonio and Bexar County for trucks carrying hazardous materials that were passing though without any stops in the area. This included the City of Live Oak and the Emergency Management Coordinator was appointed to the task force to represent the City.
This became a major project and following many meetings, public workshops, and two public hearings an official route for truck traffic carrying hazardous cargo through Bexar County was approved by all jurisdictions involved and finally by the Texas Department of Transportation. It became official by the end of 2000 and signs were erected by TxDOT shortly thereafter.
The route through Bexar County was designed and based on several criteria including:
- Using the best type of roadways available.
- Keeping the traffic off of the elevated roadways in San Antonio.
- Protecting the Edwards Aquifer.
- Keeping the traffic away from the highest population centers.
In order to meet the criteria the following roadways/highways were designated as the Non-Radioactive Hazardous Materials Transportation Route.
- All of the Interstate Highways coming into Bexar County.
- Loop 410 around the heart of San Antonio.
- All US highways and all Texas highways within the County.
As an example, a trucker coming into Bexar County from Dallas on IH 35 and going to Del Rio, must stay on IH 35 until reaching Loop 410. They must travel Loop 410 until they reach IH 10/Highway 90 and then they will head West on highway 90 to Del Rio. The driver cannot take Loop 1604 from IH 35 to IH 10 in either direction as this roadway is not on the approved hazardous materials route.
While this may seem unfair to the trucker the purpose of the route is to protect the population. Loop 1604 was not included as part of the route. The upper portion of Loop 1604 passes over the aquifer and the lower part of Loop 1604 is only a two lane roadway with lots of cross streets and in many areas emergency services needed to deal with a serious hazardous materials spill do not exist. In addition this route around Loop 410 keeps these trucks from the heart of San Antonio and off of the elevated highways in the downtown area.
Statistics gathered during the workshops and meetings showed that the most serious accidents occurred on two lane roadways where cross traffic occurs. Truckers traveling on the interstate highways seldom were involved in accidents unless they were entering or exiting the roadway and other vehicles were usually involved.
Finally truckers licensed to transport hazardous cargo are well qualified and took actions to help lesson the hazard. As an example a trucker traveling on IH 35 wouldn’t go through the area during rush hour. Chances are they would stay at a truck center on the highway and time their arrival before or after a rush hour. A truck driver likes to make time not sit in traffic!
In closing a copy of the San Antonio/Bexar County Non-Radioactive Hazardous Materials Transportation Route is available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during regular business hours.