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      Leaders prepare for hurricane season

      More than 500 local, state and national leaders gathered at the McAllen Convention Center Wednesday for a hurricane conference.

      We have one of the finest teams in the state, but we are getting ready to go to the next level, Eduardo Olivarez, Chief Administrative Officer for the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services said.

      South Texas is situated in the pocket of the Gulf Coast and has seen its share of hurricanes.

      Sometimes people don TMt take them seriously, Olivarez said.

      More than a million people live in the Rio Grande Valley, which makes organization during a disaster a priority for local leaders.

      I mean preparedness is the number one thing, we can TMt stop a hazard from happening, all we can do is respond, Oscar Montoya, Emergency Management Coordinator for Hidalgo County said.

      Experts discussed topics like disaster coordination, public health emergency preparedness and radio communication.

      Local leaders are looking at ways to maximize the use of resources like radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.

      These tags are used by the state to track massive evacuations.

      We are looking at possibly using it to track our responders, Montoya said.

      The tags could help determine if more responders are needed in different areas during a hurricane.

      Counties are preparing to deal with injuries by utilizing things like an Ambus bus which is equivalent to nine ambulances.

      Hidalgo County owns one.

      It can act as a mini hospital. It can act as a triage, so it has many concepts it can handle, Montoya said.

      Organizers say the purpose of the conference is to open channels of communication between cities and to increase response efficiency during a disaster.

      God TMs hands are very powerful, we never know how strong a hurricane can be so we have to be ready for this, Olivarez said.