New Texas Emergency Operations Center opens in HoustonNew Texas Emergency Operations Center opens in Houstonhttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=31422014-09-09T14:09:00Z2014-09-09T00:00:00Z

HARRIS COUNTY — one of the fastest growing counties in the nation — has a new state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help local governments and emergency responders serve and protect residents during disasters and emergencies.

Harris County is the third largest county in the United States and the largest in Texas, with 34 cities and more than 4.4 million residents.

The new EOC, located at the Houston TranStar center, has added 26,000 sf of new floor space, renovated 11,000 sf of existing space, and now has 98 workstations.

The building is structurally designed to withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour; it has three backup generators and a 30,000-gallon water filtration system.

The facility has gained 3,360 sf of conference space that can be converted to support disaster responders when needed. This space is also available for training, exercises and drills. Other amenities include additional elevators, bathrooms, showers and sleeping quarters.

“The expansion was conceived from lessons learned during Hurricane Rita, but it was Hurricane Ike that proved we did not have enough space to house the hundreds of people that it takes for response and recovery operations during a major disaster,” said TranStar Director Jack Whaley.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, the EOC was activated for nine days, with more than 100 people working there and only 24 available workstations. Hurricane Ike brought more than 500 responders, representing over 100 agencies, to TranStar.

TranStar — a partnership of four government agencies — the Texas Department of Transportation, METRO, Harris County and the City of Houston — provides travel time updates, incident warnings and up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information for the greater Houston/Harris County area.

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