VICTORIA COUNTY OPENS NEW EOC
The New Year brought a new start to Victoria County. City, county and state officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in January for its new 15,000 square-foot emergency operations center.
During the last decade, Victoria County has responded to many events, issuing local disaster declarations for drought, flooding, tropical cyclones and wildfires. In the past 13 years, the county has received state and federal assistance for four hurricanes, three major flood events and two major wildfire events. Investing in a new, larger and more modern emergency operations center was an area of concern for local officials for many years.
“Activations in preparation for approaching storms, such as Hurricane Claudette in 2003, and the busy seasons of 2005 and 2008, clearly indicated the previous emergency operations center, which totaled only 1,300 square feet, had reached capacity,” Jeb Lacey, Victoria County Emergency Management Coordinator said. “It was not a viable or safe location for operations and would not support the needs of our growing community.”
With this reality in mind, County Judge Don Pozzi charged local staff to actively and aggressively seek funding for a new emergency operations center that would be located in a building capable of sustaining emergency operations staff, providing appropriate response and recovery to the local affected area, and designed for an all hazards approach.
Following that charge, staff began the process of securing funds for the new center. The hard work paid off when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Grant Program approved funding in the 2009 funding cycle. Victoria County received the maximum amount of $1 million dollars. In addition to these funds, Victoria County continued its active search for grant and other funding sources. In all, Victoria County secured more than $2 million in grants and local funds for the new emergency operations center.
“The new emergency operations center will give those who support our first responders a secure and safe location, and state-of-the-art equipment to quickly and effectively serve the community, including the City of Victoria, Victoria County, and the Golden Crescent Multi-Agency Coordination Center, which encompasses a seven-county region and population of 200,000,” Lacey said.
The center includes, an expandable operations center, breakout rooms, a situation room, command center, ham radio operations, a community partners’ area, a multi agency coordination center, multiple classrooms and office space for emergency operations staff.
“An emergency manager’s goal is never ending,” Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Kidd said. “It is to ensure his or her residents are aware of the dangers and threats in their community and how to best protect themselves. I know this facility will allow this community the ability to better collaborate and implement an even greater coordinated response to what lies ahead.”
Richard McBrayer, Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator,
Victoria County & City of Victoria
Front Page Photo: Victoria County Emergency Management staff. From the left, seated are Marc Hinojosa and Brenda Rosbottom. From the left, standing, are Richard McBrayer, Jeb Lacey and John Turner. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Sourdellia with the City of Victoria.