Each year, Fort Bend County OEM works closely with local municipal utility districts to ensure that adequate preparations are taken to get ready for the hurricane season and also for other disasters that are not related to hurricanes. Below, please see the text from a recent article published by the Fort Bend Star recognizing the efforts of local operating companies who have maintained their preparedness levels during 2011. In fact, most of these entities have been part of the County’s MUD Readiness Program since its initiation in 2009. The article was published on December 21, 2011. And, believe it or not, in just a few short weeks, it will be time for the 2012 Program to kickoff!
County Judge Bob Hebert in conjunction with the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management would like to recognize Municipal District Services, Severn Trent, SouthWest Water Company, Environmental Development Partners and Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No.25 for participating in a voluntary National Incident Management System (NIMS) Program that he initiated in 2009. In 2011, each company completed the requirements of the program and are hereby recognized as “NIMS Competent First Responders.”
Those recognized have earned the distinction by taking actions to become an integral part of the County’s emergency management network. The program involves a series of actions to be taken to make these operating companies more prepared for Hurricane Season, improve communications with emergency management staff at the County level, and truly begin to make the County’s water districts responsible for emergency management activities. County Judge Bob Hebert stated, “The program is based on assuring that participating operating companies are fully informed on the workings of the National Incident Management System and the role of the county in supporting all first responders during a declared emergency. The idea is to ensure improved communications between emergency management personnel and utility operators and to include utility district representation in the County EOC in all future activities.”
The conditions of the program included having employees from each utility operating company complete four NIMS on-line training courses (100, 200, 700 and 800). Additionally, multiple employees have attended training sessions at the Fort Bend County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). During these sessions, attendees learned key definitions, the difference between crisis management and consequence management, the emergency response realities for municipal utility districts, the purpose and objectives of the County EOC, and the framework for the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan.
Jeff Braun, the County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, notes that “OEM staff is committed to expanding the readiness program and he is hopeful that additional companies will take advantage of the training offered in the voluntary program.” Overall, the program is intended to ensure a more coordinated and effective response to water emergencies that may occur in the future in Fort Bend County.