SAN ANTONIO – Whether it’s a hurricane, infectious disease, or a mass shooting, every city has to have a plan in place. So where does San Antonio stand when it comes to its preparedness?
San Antonio City Councilman Manny Pelaez recently returned to the Alamo City from a trip to Washington D.C. where, among several meetings, he spoke with FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control.
“What if the coronavirus gets out? Well, we’re ready for that,” Pelaez said.
Many local leaders and residents are frustrated and confused as to why evacuees from overseas are quarantined in San Antonio. The councilman said it actually makes perfect sense.
“The coronavirus phenomenon that’s happening in San Antonio right now is a perfect example of how it works. And it’s working. We have a very quick deployment and response with all of the teams across the sectors,” Pelaez said.
Pelaez said this is what San Antonio does. The city has all the elements in place, including the proper infrastructure necessary for medical and military mechanisms. The Alamo City also has things that other cities don’t have.
“You should know that cities all over the world come to San Antonio to study us and to make sure that they are doing things the San Antonio way,” Pelaez said.
Coronavirus is a crucial talking point because of what is happening right now, but there are other possible disasters. The city works with FEMA and the federal government to make sure San Antonio is as prepared as possible.
“We spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours every single year beefing up and hardening all of our response protocols. The infrastructure is in place, and we are making sure that we’ve got the right team of people in place. So name your disaster. Chances are we’ve thought of it,” Pelaez said.
Since San Antonio is Military City USA, the city conducts important federal operations that may be considered higher up on the list of priorities.
“We’ve been working with partners at both of those levels to make sure that, you know, San Antonio is high on their list of priorities, to make sure that all of the resources we have here are protected,” Pelaez said.
1/3 of San Antonio’s budget is fire and police, with much of it in disaster preparedness. Along with that, the budget funds Metro Health. The city also coordinates very closely with University Hospital, the county, and the state.
When it comes to emergency preparedness, the city councilman said we are in a good spot. When situations do arise, getting accurate information is a top priority.
“My advice to my neighbors is, before you believe what you read on Facebook or some blog or a conspiracy theory, check in with Metro Health, check in with your firefighters and check in with your City Council members. We’ll tell you what’s really going on,” Pelaez said.