BEAUMONT, Texas — Even though the storm in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to hit Louisiana, Jefferson County officials are taking precautions and preparing to ensure the safety of the Southeast Texas community.
The county purchased four high-water vehicles to prepare for future storms. The 2.5-ton trucks are called Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, LMTV’s for short.
The LMTV’s were purchased for $6,500 per truck from Federal Surplus Properties in San Antonio. The vehicles can be used in water as high as four feet during disasters and hurricanes.
“It's something that we'll be able to have to rescue more people," Allison Getz, Jefferson County public information officer said. "These vehicles can hold a minimum of 16 people at a time. I think we could probably get more than that.”
While Getz does believe the trucks are going to be a huge help during hurricane and disaster rescue, she hopes that the region will not have to use them, she said.
The $26,000 purchase is meant to replace the use of firetrucks and dumptrucks, that suffered damage.
“They just couldn't operate in deep water, and we just didn't want those fire engines to be ruined,” Getz said. “We wanted to replace them with this high-water type of vehicles. It’ll be a great thing for us to have in the event that we have a tragedy.”
The vehicles will be able to rescue people in remote areas, Vernon Peirce, county commissioner said.
“The towers can go flat, and they can inflate themselves,” Pierce said. “If you go through like a mud or marsh, the back has a ladder that comes out, and they'll help folks climb up in there.”
Although the trucks are able go through tough terrains to save people, Peirce said the community should still follow evacuation orders.
“Pay attention to what the county and cities are asking you to do,” Pierce said. “They're calling for evacuation. This is not an excuse not to evacuate. You should follow those orders.”
The LMTV's are still being tested, but Peirce said he hopes Southeast Texas does not have to use them.
The trucks will be used by each precinct through their personnel, emergency management and the sheriff’s department.