New Caney, September 9 – In contrast to the San Jacinto River Authority, East Montgomery County wanted to be prepared for Hurricane Harvey so a cooperative effort was planned by the Constable’s Office, the Porter and East Montgomery County Fire Departments as well as other local law enforcement and county offices. Early planning began weeks before Hurricane Harvey hit as preliminary reports estimated that the storm would drop unprecedented amounts of rain in the area and low lying areas were sure to flood.
East Montgomery County had its first ever EOC (Emergency Operations Center) that was housed in the East Montgomery County Fire Department’s Station 153. Most local law enforcement and east county government agencies had members of their staff present in the EOC.
At 2am, early Sunday morning on August 27, 2017, Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden activated the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable Swift Water Rescue Team (SWRT). Members of the team immediately began to assemble and prepare for what was going to be a rescue event that would last for days. During the rescues, the SWRT utilized a fleet of high water rescue vehicles, an inflatable rescue boat, a wave runner, and an air boat all-the-while working alongside the fire department rescue teams. From the time the SWRT was activated until the rescue operation was over, the deputies slept alongside the rescue equipment in cots and sleeping bags, attempting to get a few minutes of rest between rescue operations, many only able to get a few hours of sleep a day.
The Constable’s Office rescued families from inside homes, on second story rooftops, even those trapped in trees; overall hundreds were rescued or evacuated from the flood waters. After the waters receded, deputies loaded up coolers with cokes, gatorades, waters and snacks and headed into the hardest hit areas, not only to provide proactive patrols, but also to offer a cold drink to the residents that have lost so much, to reassure them then in time, everything will be ok.
Constable Hayden stated, “I can’t express enough how thankful we are for the food, drinks and supplies that were provided by local businesses and the community to keep the SWRT and patrol deputies on the streets and in the neighborhoods that needed us the most. Our Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association served in the shelters as well as other locations throughout the area. The entire community came together to not only help us help others but also helped each other.”