September 12th, 2008
11:18 PM ET

Surveillance systems only used for combat deployed for Ike

John Couwels
CNN Producer

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Military search and rescue teams arrived today at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio to set up staging operations. Helicopters teams from the 331st Air Expeditionary Group following the storm will assist Texas officials search for people in trouble.

In preparation for their missions starting tomorrow, a command center was being wired at the last minute. The public affairs official took the media on a tour of the nerve center that was filled with electricians, IT specialists and radio controllers. Col Steve Kirkpatrick said the staff would work through the night to have a high tech headquarter ready by morning.

We were told a surveillance system only used in combat would be deployed for the first time in a hurricane. Following the storm high tech cameras would be deployed on aircrafts to survey the damaged areas. The video would be streamed back to the command center in San Antonio giving search and rescue teams more detailed information. If it goes as planned dispatchers would receive a live feed on a screen showing people in distress. Their circumstances and the exact location of the emergency could be relayed to the helicopter teams in the air allowing them to respond quicker.

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Filed under: Hurricane Ike
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Marquis

    God bless the texans that have suffered heavily in the lost of their homes. Where was this preperation in Katrina? Not to pour salt on a still divided racial wound but what Dr. King once stated as a check written to Black America as "Insufficient funds" I percieve that the current administration still seems to withold funds and allow a check to clear for only certain constituents.

    September 13, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  2. A. Uppal

    Instead of risking people's lives for foolish and stubborn folk (and a few unfortunate people unable to leave for various reasons), maybe dropping life rafts by unmanned drones would be feasible. After the storm winds pass, they can be picked up by helicopter.

    September 13, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  3. Barbara

    As the mother of an air force pararescueman, I sit in my home this morning, many states away from Hurricane Ike's destruction and mayhem, yet I spent a restless night, watching and waiting to see just how horrific the aftermath would be. Why? Because I know that at first light, many brave pararescuemen and other first responders, both military and civilian, will be putting their lives on the line and performing heroically and selflessly to rescue those who chose to stay behind, despite the early warnings to get out. Yes, I realize this is my son's chosen life work, and I am extremely proud of my son's dedication and sacrifice, but nonetheless, I find it heartbreaking and frustrating to know that others will have to face death themselves now in order to risk those who refused to leave. God bless and keep in his arms all of those who will be on search and rescue missions this morning and for days and weeks to come, and God bless those who chose to stay behind. Sorry, had to vent.

    September 13, 2008 at 7:59 am |
  4. Rick

    Phillip,Anne & Annie, I being & living in north Texas,617 ft above sea level agree with you to the utmost.

    September 13, 2008 at 4:18 am |
  5. Jason

    Annie Kate: When you hear "mandatory evacuation", what that really means is: "if you live in the affected area and try calling 911, we won't be able to respond". Nobody anticipates that 100% of the folks in the affected areas will evacuate. The gov't just needs to practice CYA in case of suits and negative public opinion after-the-fact.

    Lessons learned from Katrina, I'd wager.

    – lil' ol' town called Taylor, TX

    September 13, 2008 at 3:23 am |
  6. Annie Kate

    Why do they call it a mandatory evacuation when they don't really make everyone leave? They have the capacity to do that especially in a confined area like Galveston island. If the evacuation is mandatory no one should be left there unless they resisted and had to be arrested and jailed. I agree with the other commenters; in a mandatory evacuation there should be no choice about evacuating. If there is, then it obviously isn't mandatory.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 13, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  7. philliprcarter

    I"m proud of the men and women risking their lives and spending our tax dollars in true, heroic fashion. But evacuations for predicted major natural disasters should be mandatory. I understand that "the poor" feel helpless, that they don't have the means to leave town. Pyschologically, a lot of people who stay don't have the emotional stamina to be assertive and leave. But risking lives and wasting money afterwards to rescue them is unavoidable and tragic. Make evacuations mandatory. Evacuating residents who don't understand or wish to leave on buses and trains would be costly – but far less than rescuing them with $100 million helicopters and wasting precious emergency responders on thoughtless, selfish people. Remove every person who resists, arresting them temporarily if necessary. If they really want to go back to their shattered homes and rebuild using food stamps and welfare, let them. But save us the lives and the waste beforehand.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  8. Anne

    Praying for the safety of the Gulf Coast residents, emergency workers and media persons as we wait for Ike to come through.
    Once again I heard tonight, and read earlier today, about people at the bars, having drinks, and par-t-y. I fully support any person's right to have a drink and party in private but I am appalled each time I hear about the "party mentality" of those who defy the warnings and "hang out" in bars. It is my opinion that once a mandatory evacuation is ordered/begun, Governors should enforce closure of all bars in those affected areas. If not for the safety of the persons themselves (but they obviously see themselves as indestructable) at least for the emergency personnel that will have to respond to needs once they are able to get on the roads. Who needs inebriated people mouthing off or getting in the way?

    September 12, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  9. Shane

    I am from Florida and I see this so often and it really gets to me. You have people ignore the orders to evacuate and end up risking not only the lives of there family and animals but also the brave people that serve are community that care so much they are willing to risk there lives.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  10. sherold wheeler

    Its Me annomous

    Anderson, please tell Ali Velshi when he checks on those prices of gas in Florida, to check into all of them..

    Here gas price down the road was 3.49 this morning. By 3:00 it was 3.55. By 6:30 it was 3.79. I was told by one of the employees the owner told her it would be 5.00 by Sun.The store across the bridge was 3.89. I drove into Byahalia about 5miles to a store that is always less than the others. The price was 4.19. I have always suspected some thing but this is crazy.

    September 12, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  11. kurt cross

    Hi Anderson....during the republican convention george bush and dick cheney skipped the convention to be in texas to be close to the hurrican gustav....are they in texas tonite in advance of hurrican ike..i doubt it..where are they tonite...friday nite?????

    September 12, 2008 at 11:36 pm |
  12. chris

    I am chris i live in fl i have a cdl and am also certified on heavy equipment .i am ready to travel to tx to help any time i can please let me know if and when i can ..... please

    god bless


    September 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm |