While most people outside of Texas think concealed carry is something best left in the wild west era, for most Texans, it is a part of everyday life.
Regardless of your stance, there is a law on the Texas books that affects the evacuees of Hurricane Harvey that conceal or open carry their firearm.
In 2007, the Texas legislature passed the “Emergency Powers Act”, which coincided with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the (alleged) confiscation of firearms by the local and state police departments during the evacuation process.
In the act, written by Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) and with Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonio), all Texans are granted “safe passage” of their legally concealed or open carry firearm in times of evacuation.
The bill, available online here, states “a peace officer, during a state of disaster or a state of emergency, (may) disarm an individual lawfully carrying or possessing any firearm or ammunition if the officer reasonably believes it necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual. The bill requires the officer to return the firearm or ammunition to the individual before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer arrests the individual or seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.”
Shelters may have their own rules regarding firearms carry (concealed or open) for admission, but legally, all Texans can retain their firearm(s) while evacuating pending the exceptions noted in the bill.
Southwest Airlines has had a website to donate Rapid Rewards points for awhile now (AKA: frequent flier miles), but with hurricane Harvey hitting Houston, now might be a good time for those fortunate enough to have thousands of unused points to make a big difference.
On the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards donation site, you can donate to All Hands Volunteers, The American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, and Ronald McDonald House. Any of these five charities will be in Houston (if not already) helping get the city back on its’ feet. Details on the organizations and their mission statements are on the Southwest Airlines donation website as well.
You can also donate to The Dream Foundation, Honor Flight Network, Make A Wish, or the Student Conservation Association on the same website.
According to a recent press release, those sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston “will have medical care on-site through a 250-bed Federal Medical Station established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the request of the State Department of Health.”
“The Federal Medical Station is scheduled to be operational Wednesday.”
“HHS has additional Federal Medical Stations available for patient care in Texas, and has positioned two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations in Baton Rouge ready to be deployed in Louisiana should state officials determine they are needed.”
HHS has also “activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, that is available at 1-800-985-5990 to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set up a National DIsaster Distress Helpline for Hurricane Harvey.
This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746).
On the helpline website, the HHS states “When disaster strikes, often people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With support from community and family, most of us bounce back. However, some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. If you are experiencing emotional distress due to the storm, call the National Disaster Distress Helpline. The Disaster Distress Helpline puts people in need of counseling on the path to recovery. Our staff members provide counseling and support before, during, and after disasters and refer people to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support.”
According to another press release, HHS is also working on local efforts for Texas and Louisiana in response to Hurricane Harvey by calling in “460 National Disaster Medical System staff, including community doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from around the country, to be in place ahead of the storm and ready to respond when and where needed.”
To quote Kurt Russel’s character Gabriel Cash in the 1989 movie “Tango and Cash”…. this is FUBAR. Big time.
Tropical storm Harvey is bearing down on the Texas valley, and it’s gaining strength every minute it spends traveling the gulf.
Right now, the storm is expected to dump 24 – 48 inches of rain over 3 days inland and winds are expected to hit 75 mph. Parts of the Texas coast are anticipating four feet of rain as the storm makes landfall.
According to NOAA, it looks like the Texas Valley might get a hurricane in the next five days.
Even though the storm is just a remnant of “Harvey” right now, NOAA expects it to gain strength once it passes the Peninsula. How long it stays in the gulf will make all the difference on how hard it hits.
If you are stuck live in the Texas valley, stock up at HEB or Costco or WalMart ASAP. Flashlights, batteries, tarps, groceries and water are going to vanish once the news outlets pick this up tomorrow night.
In semi-related news, I’m curious if this hurricane will get any press north of San Antonio once it manifests.
Living in the Texas valley has given me firsthand experience with dozens of hurricanes. From the moment they change from a tropical depression to a category 1, it’s time to get ready for the worst.
Every single time a hurricane heads my way, the WalMart and Target stores throughout the valley quickly sell out of batteries and flashlights.
Seeing bare shelves at a mainstream store was pretty intimidating when I first moved here, but I’ve since found there’s plenty of places to go to get flashlights and batteries before a big storm hits.
Hunting and Outdoors stores! This is actually my first stop when a hurricane is coming in because they carry a massive variety of flashlights, lanterns and batteries. (Cabelas, Academy)
Hardware stores! Tons of batteries and construction-level flashlights abound! (Lowe’s, Home Depot)
Kids toy stores. Often overlooked, these stores always have lots of batteries and some passable flashlights. (Toys R Us)
Arts and crafts stores. A seriously overlooked stash of batteries can always be found here, but they carry mediocre flashlights at best. (Michaels, Hobby Lobby)
Home accessory stores. They have a massive battery wall, but they’re usually hidden somewhere in the store among the appliances and bed accessories. (Bed Bath and Beyond)
Office supply stores. They do have most batteries and they’re usually on an endcap display near the front of the store so you can run in and run out. (Staples, Office Depot, Office Max)
Radio Shack. Yes, their custom batteries are overpriced and stink on ice, but they usually do have a lot of them.
And finally, “scent and body” stores. Places that have soaps and candles and things that smell usually have a wall dedicated specifically to candles. Yes, they’re all probably going to be scented, but they’re also all massive glass encased urns of solid wax, they will burn for hours, and these places always have plenty of stock. (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, Williams Sonoma and Cracker Barrel)
If you have around $300, though, I highly recommend investing in a generator from Sam’s, Costo, or one of the home improvement stores in the area. You can get a decent generator in the $300 price range, and with a few gallons of gasoline, you can have actual plug-in power. Fans, microwave ovens, and lamps are awesome to have on when the rest of the city has been dark for over 12 hours. If you do get a generator, be sure to…
Get a high-gauge extension cord since the generator will be outside your home and you will need to run an extension cord inside to your home to plug everything into.
Set up the generator BEFORE the storm! There’s some small things to put together before a generator can be run for the first time, and you definitely don’t want to be unpacking one of these things in the dark with no A/C.