Emergency service crews prepared to put practice to the test

Emergency service crews prepared to put practice to the test
Emergency service crews are in Tyler this weekend practicing their communication techniques in the case of an emergency. (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - In the case that tonight’s severe weather brings extensive damage to the Smith County area; the people you want to be around are already here.

Emergency service crews from all over East Texas are gathered in Tyler this weekend to practice their communication during an emergency or disaster.

One crew on site is the Denton County Emergency Service crew and their mobile command center named ‘Goliath’ (if you see it’s size, the name comes as no surprise).

“We can provide services for a jurisdiction that has been effected by a disaster or it can be used for a local incident; law enforcement, fire, command capabilities," said Eric Gildersleeve, the assistant emergency management coordinator for Denton County. "We’ve deployed for everything from wild fires, to hurricanes, to hostage negotiations.”

The mobile command center, which is funded by Homeland Security grant dollars, is in Tyler for the regional interoperability communications exercise this weekend.

“So, the purpose of this three day event is to get our regional partners together and to exercise various communication abilities and interoperabilities to make sure we can communicate during times of emergency or disaster," said Russell Marshall, the exercise coordinator.

Times of emergency and disaster haven’t been missed in East Texas lately and today’s weather was proof of that.

In preparation for today’s severe weather, the command centers were prepared to pack up and head out if needed.

“We have been on various conference calls this morning with the state, getting updates from the national weather service about the impact that may be here," said Marshall. “Obviously, its a concern for us. We’ve got a contingency set up in the event that it approaches, if we need to start demobilizing the platforms we can do that.”

And if tonight’s weather brings serious damage, these mobile command centers and those operating them are who you’re going to want to see.

“A lot of East Texas is rural and they don’t have the resources that a lot of your larger municipalities will have," said Marshall. “So, by us getting together and having this network opportunity, the people know the faces and know the resources available to them during emergency situations and they can call on those.”

If the mobile centers aren’t mobilized for weather damage tonight, the mobile command centers will be located around East Texas, in their home counties, tomorrow to test the communication practices they’ve been working on this weekend.

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