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Category: Manifesting | Author: admin 14.03.2015
Fort Scott is the county seat for Bourbon County, also comprising of the highest population density in the county. It’s easy for the EM position to go unnoticed during times of nice weather and everything going smoothly, much like most people live their lives. An important aspect of Wallace’s job is investigating the county and ensuring municipalities have taken important steps to mitigate against potential disaster that could occur in the county. Wallace also has an interest in increased communication within the county during times of disaster. Wallace also discussed the possibility of working with the Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. Managing an ever-increasing noise level was the key factor in the overhaul, according to Juan Ortiz, emergency management coordinator with Fort Worth’s Emergency Management Office. JEOC officials opted for RadioConnect for Sametime, a social software tool from IBM and UnifiedEdge that allows operators to listen to multiple channels at a computer using a headset. The computer-based radio monitoring tool also gives users the ability to instant message with those on the system, opening up a variety of communication options during a crisis situation.
In addition, the radio-over-IP technology allows operators to identify the actual person communicating, his or her rank and other details not previously discernable when monitoring chatter on a radio.
The JEOC’s system had its first real test in February during NFL Super Bowl festivities. Combined with record-breaking cold weather and approximately 130 water lines bursting, officials at the JEOC had their hands full, with personnel from more than 40 local, state and federal agencies using the JEOC for various monitoring and operations. Ortiz said that while he was confident the situation could have been handled without the new technology, it certainly helped bring calm to the situation. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) announced that individual assistance is now available to residents affected by the recent flooding in Fort Bend County. Bessie’s Creek was not alone in the havoc wreaked on residents, as the Barker Reservoir hit record pool elevations and held there for weeks following the torrential rainfall.
For all residents in the county that were affected by the recent flooding, significant outside help has arrived. Almost 60 damage reports filed on the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management website, along with several rounds of physical damage assessment conducted by county, state, and federal staff, allowed the Office of Emergency Management to send a compiled damage estimate to the State of Texas to unlock the additional assistance.

Disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for rent, temporary housing and home repairs, as well as other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs. Residents and business owners should apply right away with SBA as part of the overall federal disaster recovery process, and not wait for insurance claims to settle.
FEMA inspectors begin making appointments and visiting damaged areas as soon as people register for FEMA assistance in a declared county; the 161 registrations already in Fort Bend County will likely hear from FEMA very soon. The Office of Emergency Management in Fort Bend County is staffed by a dozen dedicated employees who spend their time ensuring that the county is prepared for any emergency, and capable of responding at a moment’s notice. However, it’s the careful planning and mitigation of the EM that helps coordinate the emergency services during incidents that can expedite recovery efforts and more importantly save lives. Wallace’s office keeps close tabs with Topeka and FEMA Region 7 in assessing threats and solutions for Bourbon County.
CERT is a nationally recognized program that aims to provide citizens with some basic preparedness and organizational training to respond to local disasters. The project included a radio-over-IP tool, integrated audio-video conferencing and a Web-based crisis information management system.
Ortiz said the tool cost roughly $230,000, a price tag that included some of the infrastructure, such as antennas and cables that were installed. Barker’s tributaries, namely the Buffalo Bayou, backed up into neighborhoods south of Katy, submerging streets and homes and leaving Westheimer Parkway flooded and closed.
FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but under-insured applicants may receive help after their insurance claims have been settled. William Wallace, a 12 years FEMA veteran, is at the helm of all disaster preparedness activities happening in the county. Mitigation may include fortifying current systems, such as electrical, to ensure a more expedited return of power.
Inter-agency cooperation during an incident is a critical component to ensure effective and efficient response and recovery. Just as the EM is responsible for mitigation on a county level, he is also concerned about families taking steps in preparedness within their home.
There is a wealth of information online if community members are interested in learning more about preparedness and mitigating disasters, including FREE online FEMA courses.

The center has upgraded its entire communications network, allowing users from multiple agencies to monitor radio channels and document events silently through computer workstations. Something as easy as printing a document meant a visitor had to have someone else print it. Arlington, Texas, was home to the actual game, but Fort Worth also was busy with a number of Super Bowl-related events. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. Another great example, just as this article is being written, the CDC has just announced the first case of the Ebola virus in the US. The emergency service will work tirelessly during a disaster to reach families and ensure safety. For example, during a disaster cell phones maybe tied up, but you can send text or try calling, but should only try calling at designated times to preserve cell battery. However you choose, it’s a good idea to have a back-up and check batteries periodically to make sure they are still working. One of the biggest events was cable sports network ESPN using the city’s Sundance Square for one of its broadcast areas.
These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. This is an issue where the EM may consult with the county health department to ensure we have a strategy should action need to be taken.
During the relationship building process is something known in the emergency field as ‘exercises.’ These can range from simple discussion based “tabletop exercises” to a full scale disaster exercise.
However, Wallace highly recommended families take some basic steps to increase each family’s preparedness. Wallace mentioned they try to have as many exercises during the year as possible without disrupting the daily responsibilities of the emergency service personnel.

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