Lone Star College-Kingwood is doing its part to make sure the community is better prepared for a disaster. The campus was selected as a base camp for the Texas Department of Emergency Management’s Rapid Response Task Force on June 24. The simulation is only open to the RRTF’s team leaders.
TDEM chose LSC-Kingwood because of the campus’ proximity to the coastal areas and major thoroughfares as well as its size for staging of resources needed for a response and its reduced cost to the state. This is the first year that TDEM and Lone Star College System have worked together on a venue for the RRTF. According to Dr. Denise Walker, chief of emergency management for the system, LSCS has a desire to build a stronger relationship with state and regional resources to strengthen the system’s emergency management program.
“This partnership with TDEM benefits Lone Star College System as a whole because we are taking necessary steps to ensure that we and the community are prepared for almost anything from a hurricane to a terrorist attack. Our partnership with the state is key to our security and emergency management strategy,” Walker said.
The state will use parking lot C to give 60 to 150 RRTF leaders an opportunity to learn the environment they would use in the event of an actual emergency where this base camp would be activated. The task force will also utilize SFA 125/126 as its debriefing room. The LSC-Kingwood location is one of two base camps in the community that will be used in this exercise. The second camp will take place at a nearby church and will be used as a sheltering service.
Along with working with the state to provide a base camp for the RRTF, LSCS is also working with the state to further expand its emergency management program to meet the evolving needs of the community. A member of the college system is a public information officer for Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Joint Information Center. It is also an active partner of the Volunteer Organizations that Assist with Disasters (VOAD) and is forging partnerships with local public health agencies.
“We also have relationships with the city of Houston and Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, both of which have delivered fire safety and fire warden training at all of the facilities including law enforcement agencies,” Walker said.
The RRTF’s mission is to secure the impacted area; provide emergency search and rescue; initiate immediate mass care; assess damages; synchronize local, state and federal response; aid in restoration of essential services; and support local continuity of government. The state currently has four RRTFs with locations in Austin, Waco, Dallas and San Antonio.
“The Rapid Response Task Forces are an off-shoot from one large task force that the state usually deploys in the event of a disaster. There are four task forces; one heavy consisting of 500 or more responders from all over the state and equipment and three light forces with 250 or more responders and equipment,” said Francis Melton, exercise and simulations training manager for the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center in College Station. “These task forces are self-sustaining with organic interoperable and redundant communication packages. There are thirteen state and private organizations within each task force.”
For more information on the Texas Department of Emergency Management’s Rapid Response Task Force’s exercise at LSC-Kingwood, contact Francis Melton at 979-458-8130 or email Francis.Melton@teexmail.tamu.edu.
Register now for summer I, summer II and fall 2010 credit classes in one of three ways: phone, online or on campus. Classes are offered days, evenings, or weekends in traditional, Internet, video, TV and independent study formats. Current students can register by telephone at 281-591-6625. Former and current students can register online at www.LoneStar.edu/registration
For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit our Web site at http://lonestar.edu/kingwood.htm
With more than 62,000 students in credit classes in spring 2010, Lone Star College System is the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSCS consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.