HOUSTON — The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) released its 2019 Annual Report.
The report tells the story of HCOHSEM through the incidents they handled last year. Harris County activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated 27 times, including January 1, 2019 when newly elected County Judge Lina Hidalgo was sworn in at midnight.
“Harris County residents are fortunate to have a highly dedicated team of emergency managers working for all of us. It continues to be an honor to lead this office as we protect the residents of Harris County,” said County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
HCOHSEM activated the EOC with partner support for 27 days during the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) petrochemical fire. ITC was the first major industrial disaster in Harris County in 30 years and the resulting activation was the longest on record until the 2020 COVID-19 response. More than 1,100 individuals from the public and private sectors provided support. A subsequent analysis of the event has paved the way for significant improvement in the county’s hazardous material response capabilities.
HCOHSEM staff and partners also provided support during Tropical Storm Imelda (August), the Houston Astros’ World Series campaign (October-November), and other weather related events.
The office maintains a robust public outreach and education campaign, conducting more than 420 outreach events and tours. In addition, staff participated in in more than 498 exercises and drills.
HCOHSEM is a national model of best practices in emergency planning, preparation, response, and recovery. Harris County is the third largest county in the United States, covering 1,777 square miles.