Learning from Hurricane Harvey

RENO, Nev (KOLO) Pictures of river rescues by helicopters or at a long-term care facility can tear at your heart, or may inspire you.

But for emergency managers across the country, the pictures are constant educational moments on what's working, and what could be done better in times of crisis.

“Out of every disaster we examine it, or lessons learned; we share that actually across the country,” says Aaron Kenneston, Washoe County Emergency Manager.

At Washoe County's Emergency Operations Center, experts and agencies who can help during a disaster gather and help manage what's going out in the community.

A similar center is set up in Houston; where a system has been set up to maintain or tackle events that will arise during any kind of disaster.

The top three incidents are wildfire, flooding and earthquakes. There are 82 plans that are based on those 13 events which the center will work with should any one or several happen.

”There is a reason we call it a disaster; it is overwhelming to local jurisdictions and it's weather and resources almost beyond our imagination until you see it in person,” says Kenneston.

He says policies and directives change after every major disaster.

After Katrina, new Nevada law was established to require animals, livestock and the infirmed to be included in any emergency plan. To prepare, they conduct 250 exercises involving 2500 personnel annually.

As far as the activity in Houston, Kenneston says he wants to revisit evacuation centers with families.

“There are some real problems there. Because we don't know in a disaster, with everyone coming into the shelter, how much time do you have in resources to do background checks, making sure there aren't any predators of that nature in shelters with families," said Kenneston.

While here in Northern Nevada we don’t have to worry about a hurricane’s devastation, we do have to worry about earthquakes, which can be just as far reaching and with little or no notice.

Kenneston says only about 15% of the population has an emergency kit ready.

If you want to put one together for yourself and your family, we have a link for you on our Hot Topics.