Emergency Operations Center Quietly Helping Residents

By Joel Thomas, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A record freeze at a time when the nation’s eyes are focused on the Super Bowl has generated some criticism about North Texas from athletes and commentators.

he unusual weather was the topic of a question injured Packers tight end Jermichael Finley fielded during a nationally televised ESPN interview Wednesday.

“You see how they handle it here?” replied Finley, who is an east Texas native. “We don’t got the equipment to get the ice off the road. I think they need to get on that and make this a great Super Bowl weekend.”

Fort Worth emergency response crews and others say they are on that and have been long before the Super Bowl came to town. The City of Fort Worth has prepared for the unexpected by very quietly building a high-tech emergency operations center.

In one secure room not far from City Hall, Fort Worth assembled an emergency operations center, or EOC, for representatives from its emergency response forces, public works, police and marshal’s departments.

There are representatives from federal and state agencies and other North Texas cities. They’re all in one room; cameras are not allowed in for security reasons. But that room has been in the making for three years for this event.

“And we have had constant meetings all along the way,” said Juan Ortiz, Fort Worth Emergency Management Coordinator. “And we have had exercises all along the way, table top exercises as well as full-scale exercises.”

In fact, the new EOC was part of a massive bad weather exercise held just last month during the Cotton Bowl. Ortiz said various cities and TxDOT worked on maneuvering and positioning equipment to keep traffic flowing in key areas in a weather episode like the one the area is currently experiencing.

Ortiz said the center is divided into spaces where each area of responsibility has communication with their people on the scene, other agencies and people within the command center. He said outside state and federal agencies have praised the center for its design and that the planning goes beyond weather, into disasters both natural and man-made.

“We are prepared,” Ortiz said. “And we are putting our plan into action. And I think that is what the region is going to demonstrate is sunshine or cold weather, we are ready.”

Comments

One Comment

  1. Ken Becker says:

    Well too bad their emergency operations center couldn’t get I-35W sanded in all the icy spots ALL day today (Wed). I drove on it at about 7:45 am, and then again at about 1:45 pm, and NOTHING was sanded …the icy spots were UNTOUCHED all day long. GREAT job TEAM!

  2. schrodinger says:

    Funny (in a sick way) that JerryWorld is exempt from the rolling blackouts– ONE FACILITY that uses as much electricity as a mid-sized community or 22 WALMARTS. Meanwhile, people in homes throughout the community have to suffer through power outages– people who might require medical equipment and breathing machines; infants and small children; senior citizens and others who cannot handle these bone-chilling temperatures. How ’bout it, Mister Jones? Why not open your doors and food stands (free) to all of these people who have to do without while you and your palace sit all nice and warm and lit up? At $300 a pop to stand in your parking lot on game day to watch the game on a BIG SCREEN TV (4 ticket minimum ourchase!), surely you can afford it!

  3. Joe Arnold says:

    I DOUBT THAT YOU WILL LOOK INTO THIS BUT I WILL TELL YOU ANYWAY. IN OUR TOWN WE HAVE BEEN WITHOUT WATER FOR OVER 36 HOURS AND WE CAN’T GET ANY DETAILS FROM THE WATER COMPANY. IT IS A COMPANY THAT IS BASED IN NEW JERSEY SO I’M GEUSSING THAT’S WHY WE CAN’T GET ANY INFORMATION ON HOW LONG WE WILL BE WITHOUT WATER. THE CO. NAME IS AQUATX. I KNOW WE ARE A SMALL NEIGHBORHOOD AND WE AREN’T AS IMPORTANT AS THE SUPER BOWL BUT I THOUGHT I MIGHT GO AHEAD AND REPORT THIS ANYWAY. SO SURPRISE ME AND LOOK INTO TO THIS PLEASE. I HAVE BEEN SHOVELLING SNOW JUST TO GET BUCKETS OF WATER TO FLUSH THE TOILETS, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY BUCKETS OF SNOW YOU NEED TO MAKE A GALLON OF WATER? A LOT IS THE ANSWER!! WE ARE IN SPRINGTOWN AND WE NEED SOME HELP PLEASE!!!!!

  4. Kim Dar says:

    I am a little tired of the Packers & the Steelers remarks about our lack of preparedness for situations like this. We are not used to this kind of weather like they are. That is why we live in Texas. The north has this all the time and we don’t and we don’t have the machinery to take care of it. That kind a machinery costs lots of money and with the situation our state budget is in, it is not an option to buy any. This is the first time I ever remember having snow plows running the roads and I was born and raised in Dallas and that was a long time.

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