Recently, the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management hosted its sixth annual Emergency Preparedness Workshop, at the Rosenberg Civic and Convention Center in Rosenberg, Texas. Over 130 individuals attended the Workshop including over 20 businesses and organizations who set up booths. The focus of the event was on getting attendees ready emergencies, especially the 2012 hurricane season which commences on June 1.
Each year, Fort Bend County’s Office of Emergency Management offers this forum for first responders, private businesses, non-profit agencies, and community members to network and share information. Through education and collaboration, those who attended the Workshop are able to provide a coordinated and organized response in the case of an emergency. Mayor Vincent Morales of the City of Rosenberg said, “Emergency preparation – from the individual to the governmental level – is imperative to the protection of life and property. Being able to provide a coordinated jurisdictional response, in cooperation with businesses, elected and public officials, medical personnel, educators, and others across Fort Bend County, allows us to better serve the overall needs of residents.”
Speakers at the event included opening remarks from Mayor Morales; a keynote address by Dan Reilly from the National Weather Service regarding the 2012 Hurricane Season; Pat Hughes, with the City of Sugar Land Emergency Management Department, who spoke about the function of the San Jacinto Incident Management Team; Houston Urban Area Public Information and Crisis System Administrator, Lach Mullen who gave examples of how social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are used in an emergency; Sergeant Reggie Powell of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office who presented information about the Fort Bend SWAT team; Ed Norman from Fort Bend County OEM, who informed the audience of available emergency management volunteer opportunities; and Christine Rabe, of the Homeland Preparedness Project who spoke about the Fort Bend Medical Reserve Corps program.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Jeff Braun, Fort Bend County’s Emergency Management Coordinator since 2003. As the event came to a close, Braun remarked that “partnership and teamwork have truly enhanced all phases of emergency management in the County over the last several years. By using our federal grant monies wisely, we have developed new capabilities for responding to emergencies; many of which have been displayed and discussed today.”
Exhibits and displays included the County Sheriff’s Office Kids & Cops as well as the Fort Bend SWAT Team; Texas Department of Transportation, other Fort Bend County departments including the Office of Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Engineering, Health and Human Services, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and Emergency Management Radio Operators Group (EMROG); Texas Agrilife Extension, Classic Messaging, American Red Cross, Fort Bend Garden Apartments, Gem Food Services Corp, PIER Systems, WealthStems.com, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Shelf Reliance, Homeland Preparedness Project, and 2-1-1/United Way. Fort Bend County EMS, the Sheriff’s Office and the Fort Bend Haz-Mat Response team also provided equipment for attendees to tour.
The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinates disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities, with the mission of providing a safe and secure environment to the residents and businesses of Fort Bend County.
The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management’s website, www.fbcoem.org.