Flood report cites communication breakdown

One of four AFD zodiac boat crews in action Oct 31st. The Dept wants two more.
One of four AFD zodiac boat crews in action Oct 31st. The Dept wants two more.

Austin (KXAN) — On Friday, Austin’s City Manager released the final After Action report related to the late October floods.

The flood is said to have revealed major problems with the city’s response time.

Out of 277 total findings, 62% of them are labeled “needs improvement” or “did not work.”

The report issued Friday states that the event highlighted a variety of successes and opportunities for improvement.

It states that rescue agencies responded quickly, but that there were roadblocks preventing them from offering the best assistance they could at the time.

KXAN talked with residents in the Onion Creek area Saturday. They agreed with much of what the report indicated.

“I really wish that we had more help right at the beginning–at five or six o’ clock in the morning,” said Mike Espinoza.

Issues of note include breakdowns in communication between law enforcement agencies and rescue squads, and incorrect prioritization of rescue events.

“It would have been great if the city used a reverse 911 system to call out and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to be under water here soon, so find higher ground.’ And they could have relayed it in Spanish and English,” Espinoza said.

Law enforcement is said to have denied access to city utilities.

Boats and helicopters were dispatched to assist in rescues where lesser resources would have been fine.

“I saw maybe one boat, that came up the street and drove round, but I didn’t see anybody get picked up,” sa

KXAN previously reported on an early version of the draft where a call for more rescue boats was issued.

Another major problem is summed up simply in the report; the early warning system for Onion Creek did not work.

The full report can be read here.

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