Preps For Evacuees Can't Begin Too Soon - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/15/05 - Nacogdoches

Preps For Evacuees Can't Begin Too Soon

by Donna McCollum

For now East Texas hotels are taking routine reservations. As soon as next week evacuees could be calling if Hurricane Emily stays on track.

Kelly Gilkinson works the registration desk at Nacogdoches Best Western's Inn Of Nacogdoches. "We just keep extra rollaways, extra blankets, extra pillows because a lot of times these families bring in a lot more people than we're normally used to in a room."

City leaders around East Texas are also watching Hurricane Emily's path. Nacogdoches Emergency Management Coordinator Victoria LaFollett-Koenig monitors a state hurricane evacuee sight. "And if you look at the cone we're in that area. That cone probability means it can strike anywhere in that area."

Friday afternoon emergency management coordinators held a conference call. Every four hours they're updated on the hurricane. But preparations began way before Emily was even around. Lafollett-Koenig said, "About 4 weeks ago we did a regional drill that included Lufkin and Nacogdoches just on shelter evacuation. Learned some lessons there, updated our shelter information. We've got it ready to roll."

Both cities know from experience that helping storm evacuees requires extra work and preparation. Sometimes even a loss in revenue. Inn of Nacogdoches owner-manager I.R. Patel recalled, "Even one time we have one of the customer give us a check and check was bounced, but still we didn't bother. We glad we helped them." A proper attitude for any service along a state designated hurricane evacuation route.

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