In 1998, one of our Alamo Heights Rotary Club (AHRC) members, Roy Huff, was doing emergency preparedness work for the American Red Cross and suggested that our Club become involved by manning and running a Hurricane Evacuation Shelter.
A group of AHRC volunteers met and were trained at Culligan Water Company. Ellie London was the first Shelter Manager. Our group was first activated for Hurricane Bret at the Alamo Heights High School Gym in August 1999. When Ellie London left the club Colonel (Ret) Patrick D. Zimlich became the manager.
We were again activated for Hurricane Rita, September 2005, at Douglas MacArthur High School, North East ISD.
Initially, shelters were operated under the supervision of the American Red Cross; but, over time, the state has assumed responsibility for emergency planning to include hurricane evacuation and shelter of evacuees. The state administers this planning though the Texas Education Agency (TEA) which passes requirements down its’ chain of command from Regions to school districts to designated schools.
Each year in preparation for the Hurricane season, 1 June-30 November, the manager meets with school district officials for the latest update and sits down with the Douglas MacArthur school principal and selected staff members to go over requirements and to review the plan. We subsequently reconstitute the 3 shifts by soliciting volunteers, conduct a 1 hour orientation to include a walk through at the high school and then we wait until activiated.
In 2012, the need for this emergency shelter was removed by the City and we no longer provided this service.