More than 370 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers and staff from across the country were deployed to the Houston area before the arrival of Hurricane Ike and have been working around the clock ever since. Approximately 250 Transportation Security Officers are staffing support pods (point of distribution) set up around the Houston area, while others are staged at both Houston Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) airports, supporting operations.
TSA along with FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been staffing the 22 support pods - trucks loaded with ice, water, ready-to-eat meals and other supplies - in the City of Houston since Sept. 16. TSA is deploying staff to various pod sites throughout the city of Houston to distribute humanitarian relief on a walk-in basis to victims of the storm.
TSA's IAH Federal Security Director Art Meinke said, "I am really impressed with the teamwork, organization and flexibility I've witnessed by all those who've dedicated themselves to addressing this very stressful event. The collaboration by the Houston Airport System, local law enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies, the Airport Marriot Hotel staff, the airlines and airport partners has been outstanding."
The deployed security officers have assisted evacuation efforts at affected airports and have relieved local employees so that they could safely evacuate themselves and their families out of the storm's path. These officers have successfully resumed screening operations at the Houston airports and are beginning to assist with humanitarian relief efforts with DHS, state and local partners.
Many of the team members who deployed to assist in Texas also deployed to New Orleans in response to Hurricane Gustav. During that operation TSA officers successfully screened more than 32,000 Gulf Coast residents within a 48-hour period.
These special deployment teams are used to respond to national disasters and large events including the recent political conventions.
For tips and suggestions on how to prepare you and your family for the possible effects of hurricanes and other disasters, visit www.Ready.gov.
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Photos of TSA Officers at George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport.