The College Station Division of Emergency Management (CSDEM) is involved in a number of services before, during, and after a disaster.
Our activities fall within the "four phases" of emergency management: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
Mitigation is the taking of action to reduce damages before a disaster strikes. This involves the awareness of potential hazards for our community, understanding the consequences of a given hazard, and applying this knowledge to help prevent damages from occurring.
The City of College Station has several hazard mitigation programs in place, to help eliminate or reduce the probability or impact of potential disasters. These efforts include: flood drainage improvements; conversion from overhead to underground utility lines; removal of structures located in flood plains; review and modification of planning & zoning and building codes.
Problems caused by disasters are typically:
Loss of energy systems.
Loss of communications.
Reduction in response capability of public services, including police and fire.
Debris blocking the streets; difficulties with transportation.
Destruction of property.
We work with every city department to prepare for disasters, before they occur. Working in advance will help save lives, property, time, resources, and money.
Working with local, state, federal and private entities, CSDEM also works to ensure the City successfully implements these plans and plans are regularly tested, reviewed, and updated.
Our ongoing planning efforts include the maintenance of city emergency operating guidelines, which direct the city's response during and after a disaster.
The city is part of the Brazos County Interjurisdictional Emergency Management Association, which includes Brazos County, City of Bryan, City of College Station, Texas A&M University, City of Wixon Valley, and City of Kurten. This organization is also involved in the development and maintenance of plans for several areas, such as communications, utilities, human services, transportation, donations management, terrorist incident response, and others.
One way that we "test" these plans is with exercises. Each year, we are involved in a number of preparedness or training exercises, or drills. After an exercise, an after action review is conducted, where all of the participating agencies can discuss and assess the outcome, finding improvements as needed. These help us to ensure that the city is prepared to respond and recover from disaster situations.
CSDEM is responsible for the coordination of the City's Homeland Security grant program. Through this federal program, the City has received in excess of 1.4 million dollars, from the years 2000 through 2006. These funds have purchased a variety of equipment, to be used by our first responders.
During a large-scale disaster or emergency, the CSDEM will help coordinate the efforts of first responders, city departments, volunteers, and other agencies.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
During large scale disasters, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be activated. In this facility, representatives from several city departments and outside agencies will work in a coordinated effort, to ensure that information gathering, decision making, and resource allocations are carried out in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
CSDEM works to ensure that all involve agencies will provide a consistent, unified, timely, and accurate message to the public. During large-scale emergencies, CSDEM will open a Joint Information Center to coordinate the outreach efforts to the citizens, with the help of the media.
Recovery is designed to restore the community to pre-disaster condition or better.
On a short-term basis, the priorities will be in restoration of vital services and facilities. Long-term recovery from a disaster may take days, weeks, months, or even years.
CSDEM will work with government agencies and nonprofit organizations to help provide assistance to disaster victims. We will help manage relief efforts, donations, and volunteers.