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Williamson County and its cities have been busy not only helping with sheltering in Central Texas, but jumping to the need of fellow Texans along the coast. Below is a breakdown of ways Williamson County and its cities are assisting those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and ways the public is encouraged to help.
Williamson County Technical Rescue Group is working with the local fire departments to coordinate the Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System (TIFMAS) request for response. Georgetown Fire Department sent a boat crew to Fayette County to assist with rescues from flooding. Fire departments also are assisting at the coast with the Leander and Round Rock fire departments having each sent an engine and a boat crew, the Georgetown and Cedar Park fire departments each sent an engine, and Hutto Fire and Rescue sent a tender water truck.
Williamson County Emergency Communications has received a request to deploy a communications support unit with seven communications specialists and technicians. They are taking Regional Mobile Communications 3 which is a communications platform that provides radio and dispatch capabilities, satellite phone, and internet and a radio technician truck with equipment and materials to assist with repair and restoration of services. The crew is staging here in Williamson County and is ready to go within 15 minutes of receiving the specific determination of their destination.
Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team and EMS along with the Williamson County and Cities Health District have sent teams to do medical and functional needs assessments for people staying in evacuation shelters in Austin at the request of the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan organizers. The crew of 10 people began working on Sunday. They assist with identifying specific needs evacuees have such as medications, medical treatment, dietary requirements, behavioral issues or personal assistive care that is non-medical.
Williamson County Sheriff’s Office sent two boat crews to Houston at the request of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. Each crew consists of four members specialized in swift water rescue. The crews have assisted with more than 35 evacuations from flooded homes there. A third crew will be leaving to Houston on Wednesday morning to relieve the first crew that was activated on Sunday.
Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS) has taken in animals from animal shelters in the gulf coast. They originally took in seven dogs and three cats, and two pets already have been adopted. On Thursday, they will be taking in more animals from the Lake Jackson area. They are accepting donations to take to the Brazoria County SPCA shelter in Lake Jackson, including food, blankets, and towels. Their immediate need is for small, hard case plastic pet carriers to transport animals. Donations are needed by Wednesday afternoon for departure early Thursday. WCRAS also is sheltering animals for up for seven days for people who have evacuated, but cannot keep their animals with them as they stay with friends or family.
Individuals that would like to assist those impacted by Hurricane Harvey are encouraged to make monetary donations to established, reputable organizations assisting in relief and recovery efforts. Monetary contributions allow relief organizations the greatest flexibility to meet the needs of flood survivors and reduce the labor and expense of sorting, packing and distributing donated goods.
Monetary donations are being requested by the following organizations:
The American Red Cross:
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Harvey by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
The Salvation Army:
As Hurricane Harvey causes widespread damage across Texas, The Salvation Army is ready to provide physical, emotional and spiritual care to survivors and relief workers. Salvation Army disaster teams from across the country are mobilizing and, even after disaster response efforts are over, The Salvation Army will remain in communities impacted by this terrible storm, supporting long-term disaster recovery efforts and providing ongoing assistance to those in need.
Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN):
ADRN has set up a relief fund to provide for the immediate and long-term physical needs of families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Funds will be used for gift cards, supporting supplies and materials, volunteer support, equipment, shelter, housing, rebuilding, transportation and were it is needed most.
Houston’s chapter of community support organization United Way has set up a Harvey recovery fund. Donate online and choose to send the money to specific counties or let the organization decide. Locally, the United Way of Williamson County also is collecting monetary donations to help meet the immediate and long-term needs of individuals and families in nearby communities affected by the storms. Donations can be made online here.
Central Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster:
Central Texas VOAD is a humanitarian association of independent voluntary organizations that are active in one or more phases of disaster: preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation.
Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster:Central Texas and Texas VOAD consists of local, regional, and national nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and governmental partners that coordinate disaster relief, response and recovery. An extensive list of VOAD members is provided with information about how to donate to each.
Travis Austin Recovery Group (TARG):Travis Austin Recovery Group is a long-term recovery group led by residents, experienced organizations and advisors to ensure effective relief for families and communities impacted by disasters.