Skip Navigation Links

House of Representatives Establishes Emergency Communications Center for all Members of Congress in Hurricane Ike Disaster Zone

September 16, 2008

Who: Mobile communications team, U.S. House of Representatives
What: State-of-the art truck brings power, communications to Texas Congressional Offices
When: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., September 17
Where: American Legion (post 490, across from Ellington Field)
11702 Old Galveston Road
Houston, Texas 77034

Using state-of-the art equipment, the House of Representatives will soon bring power and satellite communications to the Members of Congress of southeast Texas as they begin to assist the region’s residents.

When the office opens Sept. 17, it will be equipped with up to 250 laptops and telephone lines to help all affected Members of Congress communicate with their constituents, many of whom are requesting help in filing FEMA claims online.

The laptops and phones will be supported by the House Emergency Response Communications Vehicle (HERCV), a truck that provides power and communications without draining local resources.

“Several Members of the Texas delegation have reported that their District Offices have been completely disabled and we want them to know this command center is there to help them help their constituents,” said House Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard, who dispatched the disaster team. “We have deployed this capability to reconnect these Members with not only the people they serve, but also with their Washington, D.C. offices.”

The House is currently contacting all Members of Congress who may be interested in “plugging in” to the centralized, regional emergency District Office.

The mobile communications team was recently deployed to Congressman Don Cazayoux’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana District Office, where Hurricane Gustav led to widespread power outages.

The House’s business continuity and disaster recovery program was strengthened after Sept. 11, with the original intent of supporting Capitol operations. After Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the Gulf Coast in 2005, the House also began training for deployment to District Offices.

Congressman Nick Lampson helped identify the center’s site, which will be the American Legion in Houston, Texas.

“The people of Southeast Texas are anxious to begin the process of rebuilding and resuming a normal life,” said Lampson “I am glad to see that residents will be able to begin the FEMA claims process with the help of a professional staff who will be available to help them navigate their claim.”

Congressman Lampson issued a press release on the recovery mission:,10&itemid=336

“We encourage any Member who needs our help to reach out to us,” added Beard. “This asset will be available to any Member of Congress tomorrow looking to reestablish communications with those they serve and their operations back in Washington.”

To read about the House’s Baton Rouge recovery mission:

For more information contact:
Jeff Ventura, Director of Communications
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer at the United States House of Representatives
202-360-0450 (Cell)