The Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) did not hold its scheduled Board meeting the 25th of September. The county judges, mayors, commissioners and DETCOG staff were too busy activating their emergency plans and dealing with evacuees ahead of Hurricane Rita. Their planning and hard work seems to be paying off.
Each county, and some cities, in the 12-county DETCOG region has their own Emergency Operations Center that is responsible for directing the local response to the disaster. DETCOG is operating the central “Incident Command Center” that is responsible for coordinating among the counties and cities in the region as well as with the state and federal government.
The coordination and response varies according to the needs of the different counties and cities.
Working with the Texas Forest Service emergency management people and FEMA, DETCOG established warehousing and distribution centers for food, water, and ice in Jasper, Newton, Sabine, and Tyler counties. In Angelina and Nacogdoches counties, DETCOG is primarily responsible for finding housing for those displaced by Katrina and Rita.
Inter-local agreements already in place have allowed DETCOG to coordinate the City of Livingston delivering and setting up a portable radio tower base station in south Jasper County to replace the sheriff department’s radio repeater damaged in the storm. Stephen F. Austin State University has supplied GIS maps that DETCOG had copied and distributed to law enforcement agencies in the region. DETCOG has also delivered computer equipment to assist the Tyler County emergency operations center.
A large generator is now supplying power to the DETCOG office in Jasper. The Incident Command Center has moved there along with Texas Forest Service and FEMA emergency response representatives. DETCOG will continue with its role of planning, coordinating, and responding to the Hurricane Rita disaster. When that job is officially over it, will gather what has been learned in this disaster and use it to improve the disaster plans for the 12-county region.