WACO, Texas (KWTX) Area fire departments are working to create a regional team to respond to major incidents as well as to back each other up when calls outstrip resources.
(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
Fire, hazmat, and swift water rescue crews from Temple, Killeen, Fort Hood, and other communities were in Waco Monday checking out each other's disaster response capabilities.
"A situation like of a tornado for instance, there are building collapses in a couple of parts of town. We may be able to handle the first emergency, but not necessarily the second and you got firefighters in Temple that are staffed and ready to go right down the road," said Deputy Waco Fire Chief R.M. Bergerson.
Over the next few weeks to months, the group members will travel to each department's fire stations to check out the gear and will work on mutual aid agreements for their respective city councils to pass so that when the time comes, crews from one area can help out in another.
Not all departments have the same equipment or specialized training, which is why officials said collaborating and training with another department that's nearby is a great idea.
Temple Fire Department Training Chief Jonathan Christian said, it makes for faster response than requesting state aid, and in this case it brings together two different council of government regions together.
"A lot of times you're stuck waiting or calling other resources so this ability for us to train together helps us to share those resources with each other."
While the focus is on crews from the "Big Four," smaller departments with specialized skills, such as the Morgan’s Point Resort Volunteer Fire Department are also taking part.
As the area grows, this kind of collaboration will also.
"With construction here in Waco if you look around there are cranes everywhere. They're moving dirt everywhere, just the potential for a trench collapse for us. We see it as not only a possibility but a probability just due to the number of construction projects going on,” Bergerson said.
At this point, officials said allowing these departments to collaborate doesn't cost a thing.
"It doesn't really matter if we're coming to help out Waco or Waco is coming to help out us were working together to take care of our citizens,” Christian said.