Harris County Preparing for the Worst

Communities along the Texas Gulf Coast are keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Dolly. Here in Harris County the new Emergency Coordinator views the storm as a good test run. Laurie Johnson has more.

image of Hurricane Dolly's track as of 07/22/08Mark Sloan has been in his position for right about a week. He’s the new emergency management coordinator for Harris County.

And he’s been thrown right in, making sure the county is ready if Hurricane Storm Dolly should make a sudden turn toward Houston.

“During a non-event, when the skies are blue and everyone is enjoying the Houston area, we want to make sure that they know that we’re doing our jobs in the planning processes so that when this event like this occurs, we’re not reacting to it. It’s a natural transition for us.”

Sloan started with Harris County in 2002. He was appointed by then County Judge Robert Eckels.

He’s worked in a variety of disaster situations, from the Fire Marshall’s office to HAZMAT response. He was also the volunteer coordinator at the Astrodome for Hurricane Katrina, where he was responsible for managing 60,000 volunteers.

image of hurricaneHe says he’s pleased with how things are running at the county.

“Being in charge so to speak, it’s pretty routine because we are fortunate and resource-rich and we have a lot of people that have been through numerous events here, from flooding events, from chemical industry events, Tropical Storm Allison and the hurricanes — they know their jobs.”

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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