The city of Fort Worth, Texas purchased, configured, trained and successfully deployed WebEOC for a large football event on February 6, 2011, as well as for an unexpected ice and snow storm in the days leading up to the big event. On January 30, 2011, Fort Worth also opened its door to a new emergency operations center.
Emergency Operations Center
In June 2009, the city announced that a new 18,200-square-foot EOC was going to be built as a joint project between the city, county and state. “So we had one year to find a location, design the EOC and lock in the $5.3 million in funding we needed,” said Juan Ortiz, Emergency Management Coordinator, City of Fort Worth, Texas. “The key was finding people who quickly got over being anxious about this huge task and were able to supply solutions to the challenges we faced. Our plan called for everything to be ready for the Cotton Bowl in January 2011, which we did, and it acted as our first real-world exercise.” The large football event was held in Cowboys Stadium, about 25 minutes from downtown Fort Worth.
Fort Worth was host to the AFC-champion Pittsburgh Steelers, ESPN’s broadcast facilities in Sundance Square, and a host of NFL-sanctioned and non-sanctioned events, fan parties and concerts. It’s projected that nearly 200,000 football fans came down to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to be part of the football game week experience.
“It’s a huge event for us to manage in terms of security, traffic and logistics,” Ortiz said. “Then we had an ice storm followed by five inches of snow two days before the game, so we had to deal with power outages, snow removal and sanding roads."
WebEOC really helped to coordinate resources and response for the special events and the bad weather. WebEOC Mapper Professional provided a map view of board data on big screens, which was very helpful for managing traffic problems downtown. Fort Worth’s EOC activation included participants from 22 city agencies and county departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For the event, they issued WebEOC accounts to 352 people, created 142 positions, formed 114 groups and, at peak times, they had over 300 log-ins per day.”
“We posted 182 significant events and managed more than 230 individual missions in WebEOC during the week,” Ortiz said. “Some of our keys to success are that we made every effort to ‘keep it simple’ with core WebEOC boards that developed user confidence, and we decided to use an Intermedix ASP-hosted system which put minimal load on our IT resources. In the near future we hope to expand the use of WebEOC to other city departments and bring WebEOC into our day-to-day operations, such as managing our duty log.”