Roberto Benavides

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – June is National Safety Month — as well as the start of the hurricane season — and Texas State Technical College is ready to spring into action to safeguard the well-being of its students, faculty and staff.

Roberto Benavides, TSTC’s Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs officer, said his department partners with the TSTC Facilities Management department to coordinate response efforts for the upcoming hurricane season.

“On a monthly basis, we ensure that the emergency generators are ready for usage,” he said. “We also check the shut-off valves because they are not utilized as often.”

If a hurricane warning is issued for Cameron County, then TSTC’s Harlingen campus will close based on certain criteria.

In the event of an emergency or a campus closure, TSTC’s Emergency Notification System, which is coordinated by the college’s Communication department, sends electronic messages with timely information to all TSTC students, staff and faculty who have signed up to receive them.

In the event of a hurricane, teams from TSTC Campus Safety, TSTC Facilities Management, the TSTC Police Department, and the Office of the Provost partner to monitor the severity of the storm and coordinate with Cameron County Emergency Management.

“TSTC personnel monitor the strength of the hurricane and other factors 120 hours in advance, based on alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” Benavides said. “It will be determined if our college campus will be closed or remain open in the 36th hour.”

The evacuation route for Cameron County is designed for civilians to depart for a higher elevation.

“That route leads toward McAllen on I-2,” Benavides said. “Then it changes to the I-69C interchange toward Edinburg and departing the Rio Grande Valley.”

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