Texas 211 network to aid emergency planning

With the June 1 start of the hurricane season just around the corner, Texas has installed a 211 phone service citizens can use to make sure they are evacuated quickly in an emergency.

People who need special assistance evacuating during emergencies can call the Transportation Assistance Registry ahead of time. Local emergency officials will use that information to coordinate evacuations.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said the service is an expansion of the state’s Information and Referral Network and the result of lessons learned from the devastating 2005 hurricane season.

Perry appointed a task force to look at ways to improve hurricane preparedness and evacuation procedures after Hurricane Rita last year. He issued an executive order in March that implemented most of the task force’s recommendations.

Information collected by the Transportation Assistance Registry includes people’s addresses, medical needs, pet transportation needs and emergency contact information. It is held in a secure database that only emergency officials can access.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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