Proposals could become law to better prepare everyone for hurricanes and other disasters

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The next time a hurricane comes to Texas, a state panel is wanting everyone to be better preparation.

The report, released one month after Hurricane Ike, recommends gas stations have backup generators for emergencies. Morgan Oil in Nacogdoches doesn't have any, but its vice president says perhaps the company should. "If retail outlets could plug into a generator and crank it up and continue with electricity it would prevent a lot of problems," agreed Doug Jordan. The company has never lost power, but the luck may some day run out. "During the last hurricane, Chevron offered assistance in purchasing generators. We didn't participate, but maybe we should," offered Jordan.

Steve Hopson, owner of Rock Haven Nursing Center won't have any difficulty following the same recommendation. He's always had a generator. In his opinion, it's just good business in his field to have one. "The generator cranks and runs automatically weekly, as a weekly test," said Hopson. "In case of a power outage it will crank and run automatically." This can offer protection for elderly residents in the event of a fire. The power also runs an automatic fire prevention system.

To minimize the potential for power loss in future storms, the panel wants to phase out wooden electrical poles. The report also suggests stronger building codes, particularly in hurricane prone areas.

To help residents better prepare for a disaster the panel is suggesting expanding the state's sale tax holiday to include survival items, such as ice chests, gas tanks and batteries.

Many of the recommendations are expected to be taken up by the legislature this spring,just in in time for tornado season.