Tyler/Smith Co. Emergency Operation Center Ready?

Smith County and Tyler emergency personnel are working day and night to get a new, joint Emergency Operations Center up and running in the event disaster strikes East Texas.

For the first time, Tyler Police and Fire, along with the Smith County Sheriff's Department and Fire Marshals set up the equipment they'd need to activate an EOC.

The center will operate out of the EMS building until the new joint 911 center is operational.

Smith County and Tyler authorities will have the radios, Internet and phone capabilities they'd need in a centralized "nerve center" to communicate with their crews working to respond to the people of East Texas.

"All of the city and county officials would be able to report here and direct all of the communications for any incident from here and be able to communicate together," says Jeff Haislet, EMS director of communications. "They will be able to provide a much quicker response and better response for the citizens of Tyler and Smith County."

If there is a threat in East Texas, Tyler hospitals and other health departments will join with city and county leaders. They will also be making decisions out of the operation center. The emergency teams from Tyler and Smith County are making it a priority to do an actual run-through now that military action has begun in Iraq.

Dana Dixon, reporting.