Gov. Perry cautions against removal of critical disaster recovery air assets from Texas
Monday, April 02, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
Gov. Rick Perry thanked first responders and emergency management officials for their ongoing efforts to protect Texans’ lives and property in times of emergency, most recently during the worst wildfire season in Texas history. The governor spoke at the 2012 Texas Emergency Management Conference, where he also cautioned against a proposal by the U.S. Air Force to relocate eight C-130 aircraft currently based at the 136th Airlift Wing in Fort Worth. The C-130s play a critical role in disaster response efforts in Texas and across the entire Gulf Coast.
“Texas has developed one of the most effective and efficient emergency response teams in the nation, and having the necessary plan, people and resources at the ready is critical in situations, like the recent wildfires, where every minute counts,” Gov Perry said. “The Air Force’s proposal to uproot eight C-130′s from Fort Worth would strip the entire Gulf Coast of an invaluable tool in our preparedness efforts, severely hindering emergency response in a region that sees a wide variety of severe natural disasters.”
During the most recent wildfire season, more than 5,000 structures and almost four million acres across Texas were destroyed, with 1,300 homes in the Bastrop fire alone. More than 39,000 homes in the direct line of the fires were saved thanks to the tireless efforts of Texas emergency management officials. Gov. Perry has reissued his wildfire disaster proclamation monthly since Dec. 21, 2010.
Gov. Perry also highlighted the importance of the 136th Airlift Wing’s C-130s, which can mobilize in a matter of hours to respond to disasters in Texas and other Gulf Coast states. The governor, along with the entire Texas Congressional Delegation and the governors of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, are urging the Air Force and Department of Defense not to relocate the aircraft from Texas to Montana, as has been proposed.
Since 2005, these C-130s have flown more than 400 storm response sorties in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, including during hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Gustav. They have also transported more than 3,000 passengers and delivered more than 900 tons of emergency supplies.
“We gather this week to reflect on our response during the most recent wildfires, revisit our planning efforts for the upcoming hurricane season and give thanks to those that give so much to keep Texas the most prepared state possible,” Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management said. “This conference allows us to learn from the past, plan for the future and ensure we are all working together to protect our communities.”
The Texas Division of Emergency Management hosts the annual conference, which brings together representatives from more than 30 agencies on the Governor’s Emergency Management Council, along with officials from local, state and national governments, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, Texas Military Forces, voluntary organizations and private sector partners. Attendees discuss school safety, public health, ambulance response safety, law enforcement support, fire management, hurricane evacuations and hazardous weather preparations, among other topics. Officials from higher education, public education, healthcare, border and port security, transportation and cyber security are also scheduled to attend.