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Port Arthur Chamber welcomes community to hurricane preparedness safety call

Hurricane season officially started June 1, and Joe Tant, director of the Port Arthur Education Foundation, said the Chamber does want to wait any longer to provide safety information to the community.

The Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Zoom meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss hurricane preparedness as it relates to COVID-19.

“We want to get the information out there immediately,” Tant said, adding the Chamber has invited veteran governmental leaders to speak on the topic including Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick, state Sen. Brandon Creighton, Port Arthur Police Chief Timothy Duriso and Emergency Manager Coordinator Jeremy Houston.

“We’ve invited people who have been through so many hurricanes and floods,” Tant said. “Branick is someone who knows about hurricanes. Creighton is our Texas state senator right now, he is in the higher education committee and hurricanes affect our kids, so we want him to talk on that subject. Chief Duriso, he and Emergency Manager Houston will be there to share evacuation routes and safety protocols.”

Tant said major talking points include basic information on how to prepare your business for a hurricane, evacuation routes, safety procedures and preventing flood damage.

A new item to the discussion includes emergency preparedness in a post COVID-19 world.

“How are we going to handle hurricane shelters with social distancing?” Tant asked. Working as we are with our industry and small businesses reduced, how are we going to overcome that? We are talking about all the things we don’t want to talk about, but need to talk about.”

Tant said the meeting is open to the entire community.

Chamber members, community leaders and citizens in Southeast Texas can participate through information below.

To join the meeting, visit zoom.us/j/83005299461 or call 1+ (346) 248-7799 with the meeting ID: 83005299461.

“We don’t want anyone to miss out,” Tant said. “We will also be emailing out the link and sharing the recording on our Facebook page. We need everyone to see and understand how important this information is for the upcoming season.”

Ahead of the meeting, Tant said he wanted to share that the No. 1 way to begin preparing for hurricane season is to have a plan.

“Don’t wait till the day of to fill up your vehicle or get gas,” he said. “Make sure that your family is well aware of what the plans are. If you have animals make sure you have provisions for that. Make sure you have your batteries, your flashlights and all the necessary items and procedures that we are all unfortunately used to.”

Any citizens wishing to submit questions ahead of the open forum can email GPACC@portarthurtexas.com.