The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) had its roots in the civil defense programs established during World War II. It dates as a separate organization from The Texas Civil Protection Act of 1951, which established the Division of Defense and Disaster Relief in the Governor’s Office to handle civil defense and disaster response programs. The Division was collocated with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in 1963. The organization was renamed the Division of Disaster Emergency Services in 1973. After several more name changes, it was designated an operating division of the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2005. Legislation passed during the 81st session of the Texas Legislature in 2009 formally changed the name of the organization to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
TDEM is charged with carrying out a comprehensive all-hazard emergency management program for the State and for assisting cities, counties, and state agencies in planning and implementing their emergency management programs. A comprehensive emergency management program includes pre and post-disaster mitigation of known hazards to reduce their impact; preparedness activities, such as emergency planning, training, and exercises; provisions for effective response to emergency situations; and recovery programs for major disasters. Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code lays out an extensive set of specific responsibilities assigned to the Division.
Management of the Division
The Assistant Director for Emergency Management manages the day-to-day operations of TDEM, and supervises two Deputy Assistant Directors, seven State Coordinators, and the Division's administrative staff. The Assistant Director also oversees the TDEM Public Information Office and the division’s personnel technician. The TDEM Public Information Office (PIO) responds to media inquiries, issues news releases and conducts press conferences relating to emergency management programs. The PIO staff provides public education materials for citizen preparedness and coordinates public information programs with the Governor's Press Office, other state agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and volunteer groups.
The Deputy Assistant Directors oversee four State Coordinators, the Human Resources section and the State Management Team. The State Coordinators supervise twelve TDEM operating sections and units. The Division has field offices at the Ramirez State Office Building in Houston and in Galveston County. The Division’s Regional Liaison Officers are stationed in DPS regional and district offices around the State.