Skip Navigation
Disaster Preparedness The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing

Update: Hurricane Ike: Call for Volunteers

September 24, 2008
3:00 pm

Medical Special Needs Shelter Closing
Notification from City of Austin

The City of Austin has notified the UT School of Nursing that the Medical Special Needs shelter will be closing on September 24, 2008.

"Thank you UT School of Nursing for your assistance! Your staff and students were wonderful and a great help!!" - Mary Lanier-Evans,
HR Supervisor, CCSD (Community Care Service Department, City of Austin).

September 23, 2008
10:30 am

Triage Center Closing

The nurse triage desk at the convention center quickly grew from an area that opened on September 15 staffed by City of Austin employees and School of Nursing volunteers into a center that on Sunday was staffed by 2 family practice physicians, a psychiatrist, 2 mental health specialists, 2 registered nurses from the City of Austin, a medical assistant, a pharmacist, 2 clerical specialists, an administrator, 2 School of Nursing FNP students and a faculty member. As quickly as the clinic grew to meet the needs of shelter occupants, it will disappear. The triage area is staffed with employees and volunteers through Tuesday September 22, and Wednesday the clinic is expected to be closed down. Evacuees are being relocated to local hotels, other shelters, or back to their home cities. While they are here in Austin, evacuees will continue to have access to services through the city and county health services (City of Austin, ATCMHMR). Many evacuees are already scheduled for follow-up services at the 2nd St. clinic.

The clinic benefited from services provided by 9 faculty members and at least 16 graduate students. Many School of Nursing volunteers served on more than one day to enhance coverage for the initially sparsely staffed clinic. City employees at every level have expressed their immense gratitude for the assistance provided, and we pass their thanks on to you.

September 22, 2008
4 pm

The SON continues to provide volunteers, RNs and nursing students, to assist the City of Austin. Volunteers are working in two locations: the Pickle Research Center in the Medical Special Needs Shelter and with Nurse Triage at the Austin Convention Center.

Medical Special Needs Shelter
Location: Pickle Research Center

There are currently 35 patients in the Medical Special Needs Shelter, along with 17 family caregivers. The City is working to place these individuals in a more permanent situation. We do not know when the shelter will close. At this time, we will continue to assign volunteers to the MSPNS through September 28.

September 16, 2008
2:15 PM

The City of Austin anticipates the response efforts to continue for another 3 weeks. The Disaster Committee at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has agreed on the following:

  1. Medical Needs Shelter, Pickle Research Center - To assist the University of Texas at Austin and City of Austin provide nursing personnel to augment City of Austin Health and Human Services staff the Medical Needs Shelter which is now housed at the Pickle Research Center Commons Building.

    There are approximately 160 evacuees and caregivers from Galveston and Baytown, who have chronic illnesses and various disabilities. They did well when at home but evacuation has added stress and difficulties in maintaining care.
    • Presently 21-30 J1 students and faculty (Hoffman, Davis, Zuniga) are using medical needs shelter as their clinical site on Mondays and Tuesdays.
    • Faculty and Staff who are RNs are needed to help/relieve City of Austin nurses on other times.

  2. Nurse Triage General Shelter - To assist with minor triage of health problems that evacuees in the general shelter may have. The task will be to assess, recommend actions (e.g. first aid) and, if needed, refer to the medical staff at the East Austin Community Health Center where patients can be seen during office hours. Registered nurse license mandatory. Recommend APN faculty and APN students. The triage desk needs to be manned 8-8 everyday. You may choose to work 4 hours or more. Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall B.

Bring your own diagnostic equipment and check in at the volunteers sign in area to obtain a City of Austin tag. Free parking for volunteers is at the Convention City Parking, entrance 2nd street and Brazos.

Volunteer Sign Up Instructions

Read the Just in Time Training (PDF Format)* if you have not already.

Pickle Center Medical Needs Shelter volunteers will be contacted by Student Affairs Office and you will be given your assignment. Report to the volunteer desk at the Pickle Research Center. Wear your name tag. May sign up for 4 or more hours.

Convention Center Nurse Triage volunteers will contact Stella Logan. You may sign up for 4 or more hours. You may bring along your FNP, PNP, or CNS students.


September 12, 2008
12:15 PM

The State of Texas and the City of Austin have activated emergency response plans in anticipation of Hurricane Ike. The City of Austin has activated their emergency shelter plan. The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing has been asked to assist in medical needs shelters and, possibly general shelters. Latest word is that most of the special needs evacuees will be sent to San Antonio and Dallas. For Austin, however, about 100 beds are being prepared at the Convention Center. Special needs evacuees are likely to be patients from nursing homes and other individuals who receive home health services.

Psychological first aid for evacuees and families, history intake, assisting with activities of daily living, vital signs, disease surveillance and assisting the shelter nursing staff will be some of the work School of Nursing volunteers may do if called to assist.

Personal and Family Safety

It is important that students, staff and faculty at the School of Nursing stay informed and safe. For more information go to the American Red Cross and City of Austin Disaster Ready web site.

Responding as a Volunteer

Where: The medical needs shelter is located Exhibit Hall 2 of the Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street, 78701. You can park in Parking Garage 2 at 2nd Street and Brazos Parking Garage. Show your UT ID card and you will get in free.
When:  Four hour shifts are needed:
From Friday, September 12 to Monday, September 15
8 am to 12 noon
12 noon to 4 pm
4 pm to 8 pm
8 pm to 12 mn
12 mn to 8am (or could do four hour shift)

Response activities on behalf of the School of Nursing will be organized and known. If the City of Austin rquests our assistance, volunteers from the School of Nursing will be asked to:

  1. Read the Just in Time Training before deploying (PDF Format)*.
  2. You will be notified where, when and to whom to report.
  3. You must register not only with the School of Nursing, but also check in and out while on site. Security is important and will be tight. This is for your safety as well as for the safety of evacuees.
  4. Wear your UT name tag, UT scrubs, enough food, water and extra change of clothes, personal hygiene, sturdy shoes and socks. Bring your stethoscope, writing material, pen, flashlight. Bring your medications if you are on medications.
  5. If you are a licensed professional, bring evidence of licensure.

Stay Informed

According to Austin's Emergency Operations Center, the Austin area can handle up to 25,000 evacuees and can set up 75 shelters. Austin has an agreement with the city of Galveston to receive 7,000 evacuees.
According to the Office of the Governor, state resources are being deployed as a presidential disaster declaration was also granted today and includes emergency protective measures for 25 of the 88 counties requested by Gov. Perry on Monday. “Hurricane Ike is now in the Gulf of Mexico and making its approach toward our coast,” said Gov. Perry. “The next few days will be crucial for residents to follow the direction of local leaders and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families. ” Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued by local officials in Brazoria and parts of Matagorda County. Voluntary evacuation orders have been ordered for Galveston, San Patricio and Victoria counties and parts of Jackson County, and the City of Corpus Christi. According to the National Weather Service, Texas remains in the projected path of Hurricane Ike, which is currently a category two hurricane with winds up to 100 mph. As Ike moves over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it is expected to strengthen before making landfall. In anticipation of Ike’s landfall, up to 1,350 buses are available to support potential evacuations, with the estimated pre-staged vehicles in the following locations: City of Houston – 250 buses; Matagorda County – 13 buses, two paramedic buses, five ambulances; Nueces County – 175 buses, 50 ambulances, 25 paramedic buses, 13 wheelchair accessible vans; and Victoria County – 60 buses, 30 ambulances, seven paramedic buses.

Texas Department of State Health Services: DSHS is coordinating air and ground evacuation and tracking of hospital patients and others with medical special needs. Health and Human Services Commission: The state's 2-1-1 information and referral network responded to more than 10,000 calls Tuesday.

Visit Office of the Governor - Rick Perry web site for more information.

Community Disaster Education

One important role of nurses is community disaster education. There are several good sites.

Getting Assistance for Special Needs

Call 2-1-1 If You Need a Ride
If you are a Texan who lives in an evacuation zone and you require special assistance to evacuate during a storm – including the elderly, people with disabilities, or those who simply will need a ride – call 2-1-1 to register for a ride. Information can be provided in almost any language including Spanish. Assistance also available for emergencies, food, housing and shelter, education, legal, childcare, physical and mental health, financial assistance, and transportation.

Operators have been specially trained to take your basic, confidential information so that you can get to safety when a storm threatens the coast. Register well in advance of a storm by calling 2-1-1 (in Texas), or 1-888-312-4567 TODAY.

After a storm Register for Disaster Assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Register for aid to help FEMA direct the necessary resources to you and your area. 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired.

Tips for Texans with Disabilities or Special Healthcare Needs

Create a support network by making a list of family, friends, co-workers, personal attendants, service providers and others who can be part of your emergency plan. Choose at least three people in each location where you spend time, such as home, school and your workplace.

Make sure you and members of your support network have a list of contact information for everyone in the network, along with names of your doctors and other service care providers.

Make sure you have alternate ways to communicate if phones are not working (such as an assigned meeting place, use of pagers, e-mail or other technology that does not depend on phone lines). In case telephones and cell towers are not operational, you may want to make a list of contact information on paper that you normally store in electronic devices.

For individuals who use relay services, there are several options: dialing 7-1-1 (nationwide - landline), captioned telephone (CapTel), Internet-enabled relay service (Internet Relay and Video Relay Service - Internet).

Individuals who have wireless notebooks, pagers or PDA can call Internet Relay Services.

In addition to a basic emergency kit, you may need the following items in your emergency kit:

Medical equipment and assistive devices (glasses, hearing aid, catheters, augmentative communication devices, cane, wheelchair, scooter, walker, dressing aids, oxygen, tubing, feeding supplies, drinking straws, etc.) Label each with your name and contact information. Be sure to have extra batteries and chargers

  1. List of model numbers or serial numbers of medical devices and equipment
  2. Medical alert tags or bracelets and written description of your disability-related or health care conditions
  3. Medications and copies of all prescriptions, including a list of the prescription name, dosage, frequency, doctor and pharmacist. Also consider if medications need to be refrigerated and if so, bring a cooler with an ice pack or other coolant system
  4. Special hygiene supplies such as absorbent pads
  5. Phone numbers and names of your physicians or other health care providers

Supplies for a service animal including food, identification tags, proof of up-to-date vaccinations and veterinarian visit Official Portal of Texas: Emergency Portal web site.

If you have any further questions please contact Marilyn Pattillo and Trish O'Day.

*Download Adobe Reader - 7.0 or later for viewing Adobe Acrobat PDF files