With hurricane season approaching, here’s the truck you hope never to see

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 5/25/22

This year marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017. Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and officials are encouraging residents to begin their preparations.

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With hurricane season approaching, here’s the truck you hope never to see

Posted

This year marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August 2017. Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and officials are encouraging residents to begin their preparations.

Better to be prepared, with no storms, than the other way around.

One couple is helping local residents prepare in a big way—specifically, an LMTV M1078 Deuce-and-a-half truck.

Aaron and Rosemary Jackson are founders of ARHTX Army, a non-profit dedicated to educating the community about hurricane preparedness.

“We were out in Harvey with our lifted GMC 2500 pulling cars out of ditches, rolling through high water to help people fleeing their homes, but we realized it wasn’t enough,” Aaron Jackson said. “We knew we needed to do more.”

The Jacksons found the vehicle, which they named “General Max” in honor of General Maximus Decimus Meridius from the movie The Gladiator. Meridius never gave up and aided others with their survival.

General Max, the truck, can hold up to 20 people. The Jacksons added a 25,000-lb. winch and solar panels providing on board electrical backup for any type of medical device or emergency equipment creating a vehicle that can operate with dependability in any high-water disaster. The truck would be used to move people to designated shelters in an emergency.

Having such a truck—and hoping it never has to be used—is one thing. But the Jacksons worked to develop relationships with first responders as well. Such relationships with Houston Fire and Rescue and with Harris County Pct. 5 Constable Ted Heap, enable the Jacksons to bring current hurricane preparedness knowledge to the community.

The Jacksons are working to make a difference by bridging the gap between first responders and those in need. Such activities involved educating children and those most at risk, informing them of what to do before, during and after a hurricane or flooding event.

“We’re the couple you don’t want to see in front of your home,” Aaron Jackson said, smiling. That would mean high water had immobilized you and we would be your lifeline to safety.”

Rosemary Jackson offered these tips, which are listed in the CDC guidelines.

  • Have an emergency food and water supply.
  • Have an emergency medicine supply.
  • Make sure you have power sources such as flashlights and batteries. Have a battery backup charger for your phone. That can be a great source of information and communication.
  • Have a fire extinguisher.
  • Have a plan for safe evacuation if necessary. Know where you’ll go, how you’ll get there and where you’ll stay.
  • Have a battery powered radio to keep up with announcements.

The Jacksons offer these tips for dealing with rain events:

  • Stay informed by listening to local news or weather channels
  • Never walk, swim or drive through floodwater
  • Call 911 for a medical emergency or immediate evacuation
  • If you’re in danger and need rescuing you can also call the Houston command center of the U.S. Coast Guard: 281-464-4851, -4852, -4853, -4854 and -4855.
  • Make a Go Kit. Such a kit includes personal items and important documents such as passports, flood insurance information, and appropriate medical documents. Such a kit should also include clothing, toiletries, medicine, three days of nonperishable food, cash and credit cards, a multipurpose tool, rain gear, batteries and flashlights, cell phone and chargers, work gloves. Including reading material, or even a deck of cards, is a good thing.
  • Stay calm and move to higher ground until help can arrive, not in an attic, but somewhere the responders can see you.

Katy-area residents can stay informed through an automated alert notification system set up by the city. Enrollment is free and can be done through the city’s website, the abbreviated URL for which is https://bit.ly/3sTqg3u.

The system, launched in 2019, sends emergency and official city information through email, text and voicemail messages. While one does not have to be a Katy city resident to enroll, one must use a Katy address when enrolling.

Katy Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Goedecker said people should also follow the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service, and the Harris County Flood Control District for updates.

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