Regional Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program

homeland security sealThe HOTCOG Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program continues to build the network with local, state, and federal stakeholders to increase community resilience, preparedness, and response capabilities for emergencies and disasters.

The partnership between the Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness Program and local municipalities enhances planning, cooperation, training, coordination and exercises throughout the six-county region. COG staff support the continued development of emergency management plans at the county level, provide assistance in achieving and maintaining compliance for State Homeland Security Program funds and provide technical assistance in all matters of emergency management and homeland security. Additionally, COG staff update the Regional Interoperable Communications Plan, support local jurisdictions in seeking hazard mitigation funding, provide operational support for emergencies and disaster recovery operations.

Emergency Preparedness Programs

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP)

The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) provides federal grant funding for homeland security and emergency operations planning and the purchase of specialized equipment to enhance the capability of local agencies to prevent and response to incidents of terrorism.  These funds may be used for planning, organization, training, exercises and equipment.

Emergency Notification System (ENS)

The HOTCOG Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program administers the regional emergency notification system. The system is a region-wide project which enables emergency responders to alert the general public by sending mass telephone, cellular phone and text message notices when there is a threat to life and/or property. The system allows responders to notify specific areas of concern or a whole community or county based on the needs of an incident. This system continues to be a quick and viable means of notifying the general public of dangers or incidents that may cause harm to citizens or property. In addition to the database upkeep, end user training, call tests and the sending of notifications are essential to maintaining the success of the project.

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Citizen Corps Program (CCP)

The regional Citizen Corps Program provides the training, knowledge and equipment necessary for community members to ensure the safety and well-being of themselves, their families and their communities during times of emergency and disaster. The program develops partnerships between local response agencies and the general public while identifying, training and equipping disaster volunteers to support disaster response and recovery operations. The HOTCOG Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program oversees the implementation of the Citizen Corps Program throughout the region.  Additionally, COG staff serves as representatives at the state and federal level for community preparedness and disaster volunteer advisory committees. The success of the Citizen Corps Program is dependent on training, community engagement and public education made possible by the partnerships established throughout the region between the public, emergency management and emergency response agencies.

Training, Exercises, and Technical Assistance

Members of the HOTCOG Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness staff continue to provide training and exercise opportunities throughout the region for both responders and the public. The goal of the training and exercise program is to increase community preparedness and resiliency through the adoption and implementation of best practices identified throughout the nation. Furthermore, COG staff provide onsite technical assistance to jurisdictions. This assistance focuses on planning, preparedness, response to and recovery from disasters of all types.

Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee (EPAC)

Chaired by Tom Hemrick, Emergency Management Coordinator, Hill County, the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee exists to advise the HOTCOG Executive Committee in Emergency Preparedness activities, including planning issues, opportunities for grants and funding, disseminating new laws/regulations, and the setting of regional priorities. The Committee represents the various disciplines of emergency planning, law enforcement, fire/rescue/hazardous material response, health, and communications. The committee develops regional goals and recommends the distribution of regional funds.