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Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2016 Vol. 63 No. 9

New Technology Section Added to the Texas State Operations Center

State Operations Center

The Texas State Operations Center (SOC) operates under the Incident Command System (ICS), which is designed to support effective and efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure*. To that end, a Technology Section was recently added to the SOC that combines critical information systems, communications, information technology, critical infrastructure and geospatial information systems into one unit. The intent of the SOC Technology Section is to organize key technologies into one group to improve communications and coordination to enhance the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Response and Recovery mission.

Jeff Newbold, State Coordinator for Critical Information Systems (CIS) cites the need from recent incidents.  "During the May Severe Weather, 16-0008 major flooding incident and several other recent incidents we had a continuous need within the SOC for technology staff to work closer together such as our GIS mapping staff to work next to Department of Public Safety (DPS) critical infrastructure staff or CIS staff to work next to DPS communications staff. The Technology Section will also allow TDEM to improve incident response times with GIS mapping and data analytics to produce demographic profiles of evacuation zones and the amount of assistance that is required or to identify critical infrastructure at risk and potential cascading effects from specific infrastructure going off-line."

Moving forward, a major purpose of the Technology Section will be to support the mission of TDEM's local and regional partners through the TDEM Field Response Section and the TDEM CIS Response & Development Section.  Michael Ouimet, Manager for Critical Information Systems, HQ, provides one example: "TDEM CIS is working to ensure that TDEM and its local, regional and federal partners are working from the same GIS map data and common operating picture and that information is distributed in near real time to everyone that requires it for incident response."

More information on the new SOC Technology Section will be reported at the next Texas Emergency Management Advisory Committee (TEMAC) meeting held in conjunction with the EMS Conference in Dallas, November 19, 20 and 21, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

* Federal Emergency Management Agency

Jeff Newbold
State Coordinator, Critical Information Systems
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Homeland Security
Texas Department of Public Safety

Mike Ouimet
Manager, Critical Information Systems - HQ
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Homeland Security
Texas Department of Public Safety

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