David Coatney

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — David Coatney was named Agency Director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Nov. 15. The appointment was confirmed during the meeting of the Board of Regents in College Station, following a 21-day waiting period. Coatney will assume his position on Jan. 1, 2019.
“The work of Texas A&M Extension Service, which oversees Texas Task Force 1, is the best kept secret of The Texas A&M University System, from workforce training to rescuing thousands from disasters and teaching the rest of the nation how to rescue people,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “I am confident David Coatney will continue to improve upon the agency’s great tradition of public service.”
“I’m excited about working with this great leadership team and employees, and the opportunity to work with an agency like TEEX in making a difference across the state, the nation and the world,” Coatney said.
Most recently, Coatney served as Fire Chief for the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department. Prior to that, he was Fire Chief of the Round Rock Fire Department for five years. He held several positions of progressive leadership over 25 years working for the San Antonio Fire Department, including Chief of Fire Operations, Emergency Management Coordinator, Homeland Security Director and Chief of Training. He currently serves as chair of the State of Texas Governor’s First Responder Council and serves on the FEMA Region 6 Advisory Council and the Texas Division of Emergency Management Executive Advisory Committee.
Coatney earned a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Education with a major in fire science and a master’s degree in Organizational Management from Wayland Baptist University, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program of the National Fire Academy and the Executive Leaders Program in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School, and holds numerous professional certifications. In 2017, he received the Leadership Award from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

About The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is a state agency that is a member of The Texas A&M University System. It is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. In 2018, TEEX served nearly 195,000 people from across the United States and 81 countries through hands-on training and technical services.

About The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.7 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.

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COLLEGE STATION – After a year plagued by hurricanes, wildfires, floods, mass shootings and a volcanic eruption, communities and families nationwide are facing a long road to disaster recovery, which can take months or years.

To help communities navigate the rough seas of the disaster recovery process, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has rolled out a free online course, Disaster Recovery Awareness. The course is designed to introduce the key elements involved in disaster recovery, from developing a recovery plan to finding disaster assistance resources.

The impetus to develop disaster recovery training came on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which wreaked havoc on the Texas Gulf Coast in 2017. Disaster Recovery Awareness is the first in a series of courses devoted to providing communities a roadmap to recovery, helping them to bounce back from a disaster and become more resilient.

“Working in devastated communities like Rockport and Aransas County, with the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, made us realize that many city and county officials need support and tools to help them get through the recovery phase of a disaster,” said Tony Crites, Associate Division Director with TEEX’s Infrastructure Training and Safety Institute.

“With TEEX’s expertise in emergency preparedness and response and our experience working with federal agencies like FEMA, we realized we could offer training to help communities build resilience and recover from the next disaster. We knew we could provide some tools and templates to help them get started in the recovery process.”

Developing and implementing a successful recovery strategy is a critical function of disaster management, he added. “The disaster didn’t end when Hurricane Harvey left the state — the recovery phase was just beginning, and it is still going on. It is vital that jurisdictions know where to find recovery guidance, how to plan for and manage recovery operations, and what public assistance is available to the community and how to access it.”

The disaster recovery training is aimed at community leaders and emergency management personnel, public works employees, fire and public safety officers, community planners and economic development organizations, health and human services, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public-private partnerships (P3s) and/or private sector organizations that support recovery and economic development.

In addition to the online Disaster Recovery Awareness course, other face-to-face courses will address Disaster Recovery for Senior Officials and an Introduction to Disaster Recovery Pubic Assistance Programs. The courses are offered in partnership with TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center. All courses align with the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8 on National Preparedness and follow the key elements of the National Disaster
Recovery Framework.

TX-TF1 Legacy Logo COLLEGE STATION – Tropical Storm Harvey has reduced in wind speed and intensity, with 50 mph sustained winds, but life-threating rainfall is still expected over a large area of the Texas coast. Given the size of the impact area and the continued potential for significant rain and flood damage to a number of Texas counties, several search and rescue teams have begun operations in the region.

At 6 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) activated Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R), water rescue, and helicopter rescue resources to respond to then Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, Texas Task Force 2 (TX-TF2) and FEMA US&R teams were activated and positioned in several locations throughout Texas.

Once extreme storm conditions subsided, TX-TF1 personnel began assisting local personnel with response efforts. TX-TF1 and TX-TF2 have begun operations in the Corpus Christi and Houston areas.

TX-TF1 partners with the Texas Military Department to form helicopter search and rescue teams. These teams provide task force rescue swimmers who have expertise in aerial swiftwater and flood rescue. A major asset to the affected areas are the companies of soldiers operating high profile vehicles to evacuate survivors from flooded areas.

TX-TF1 and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service personnel are also deployed to TDEM’s State Operations Center (SOC), and to Texas DPS Emergency Operations Centers as Liaison Officers for the response teams, with additional personnel on alert to support impacted regions. These personnel are also supporting the Texas Aviation Operations Center, the Joint Air-Ground Coordination Team, and the Texas State Search and Rescue Overhead Team.

Although weather conditions have allowed search and rescue operations to begin, this is an ongoing event. Search and rescue teams will be active in the coastal areas for several days.

About Texas Task Force 1

TX-TF1 is sponsored by the TEEX and has deployed over 100 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. TX-TF1 can be activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management or as one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 28 sanctioned urban search and rescue teams.

Visit the Texas Task Force 1 Website for more information. Find Deployment Briefs of previous deployments

— LyondellBasell, one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, announced a donation of $100,000 to fund specialized emergency training for six Houston-area fire departments that serve key industrial corridors.

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), an internationally recognized leader in emergency response training and firefighting, will administer the training to the fire departments. The donation will underwrite hazardous materials (HazMat) training scholarships for fire departments  in Houston, Channelview, Pasadena, La Porte, Sheldon and Mont Belvieu.

“We recognize the challenges fire departments in Houston and smaller outlying communities face in obtaining this unique type of training. We believe in being a responsible, good neighbor where we operate and are pleased we can help in saving lives and protecting our communities,” said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and chairman of the management board. “We are honored to play a small role in ensuring that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day are even better prepared to safely do their jobs.”

“I would like to praise LyondellBasell for their proactive approach in ensuring that local municipal fire department personnel, who may respond to industrial incidents in one of the facilities in the Houston area, are trained to deal with those type of situations,” said Chief Robert Moore of the TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute. “Training is a key in firefighter safety. We look forward to providing this valuable training to these fire department personnel, training which will keep them and their communities safe while responding to an industrial emergency.”

The greater Houston area is home to many industrial facilities including refineries, storage terminals and chemical plants that handle a variety of materials and products. The TEEX courses will train firefighters specifically in handling incidents involving different hazardous materials that require specialized response tactics.

The LyondellBasell donation will provide more than 1,200 hours of instruction in TEEX’s HazMat training program. Fire departments will have the option of attending classes either at the Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, Texas, or onsite at their fire stations using TEEX’s mobile training units.

About LyondellBasell

LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB) is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, with more than 4,000 employees in the greater Houston area and 13,000 employees worldwide. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels. Visit the  LyondellBasell website for more information.

COLLEGE STATION – Emergency personnel were responding to a disastrous train derailment with an oil spill and a chemical plant explosion — 740 miles apart. But there was something that linked these two events.

The healthcare personnel and emergency managers from the National Capital Region — who were in Anniston, AL, and College Station, TX — were linked through TEEX’s unique online simulation training tool called the Emergency Management Exercise System (EMES).

The mock incidents were part of the Integrated Capstone Event exercise on May 5 for several classes at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston and the TEEX class in Enhanced All-Hazards Incident Management/ Unified Command in College Station.

More than 100 healthcare personnel from the National Capital Region and surrounding states participated in the exercise at the CDP, as well as nearly 50 emergency managers and responders at the Emergency Operations Training Center in College Station.

Both the CDP and TEEX venues coordinated and collaborated prior to, during, and post exercise play. Incident injects in the exercise were developed and executed by both CDP and TEEX controllers to ensure planning, staging, resource allocation, communication, and coordination between the two venues.

National Domestic Preparedness Consortium logoAreas of collaboration included: hospital bed space, water contamination, HazMat resources, public health, field command operations and public information. Following the exercise, two representatives from the National Capital Region (one at TEEX and one at CDP) shared lessons learned through a live video teleconference.

CDP and NERRTC, both members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, previously conducted a joint exercise using the EM*ES in 2014, demonstrating that disasters may be managed from a distance as long as there are effective communication systems in place. The collaborative training by NERRTC and the CDP was offered as part of the DHS/FEMA Homeland Security National Training Program Cooperative Agreement.

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) was selected to provide emergency management training and exercises for the renowned Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD.

A six-member instructional team, led by Executive Programs Director Rick Comley, developed and delivered a successful, four-day capstone course, Exercising Emergency Management Executive Policy and Decision-making, in September for the National Emergency Management Executive Academy.

The Executive Academy is designed for senior-level executives in the public and private sector who are responsible for making decisions that have a significant effect on prevention, protection and mitigation policy or the management of disaster response and recovery. Thirty-eight executives attended this year’s course which was assessed by the EMI Superintendent as a “stellar” performance by the team.

The intent of the course is to place the participants in difficult emergency management situations, exploring strategic leadership, decision-making and policy-making during adversity and stress, Comley said.

Along with TEEX, the Executive Academy is conducted in collaboration with Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute, University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, and the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

Executives are selected by FEMA to attend the series of four in-residence courses, including: Emergency Management—A Leadership Challenge; Integrating Science into Emergency Management Policies and Decisions; and Emergency Management in the 21st Century.

The capstone course in the series, Exercising Emergency Management Executive Policy and Decision-making, was designed to be interactive with case studies, senior level guest speakers, exercises and policy discussions that stress executive level decision-making during difficult emergency management situations, Comley said. It draws its activities and focus from the previous three courses and the lessons learned from them.

Exercises focused on the emergency management challenges and national policy implications involved in dealing with a series of cascading and catastrophic disaster events, including response to a widespread blackout on the East Coast, and recovery from a tsunami on the West Coast.

In addition to Comley, other members on the delivery team included Steve Keim, Tony Crites, Ronnie Taylor, and Adjunct Instructors Tom Panther and Joe Lynch. Course development was supported by Vickie Park, Jenny Britton and Matt Sherwood from the TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute Curriculum Team, and the TEEX Digital Printing Services.”

The development and delivery of the capstone course was done in collaboration with the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, which funded the development and delivery of this joint Department of Homeland Security and FEMA effort, said Comley. “I was extremely proud of the team’s overall contribution to this joint program aimed at training and developing senior leaders from across the nation.”

Texas Task Force 1, the state’s elite urban search and rescue team, will respond to a mock earthquake catastrophe at Disaster City during a full-scale operational readiness exercise March 2-4.

The annual exercise prepares and maintains the unparalleled skills of Texas Task Force 1 by utilizing Disaster City’s catastrophically destroyed mock infrastructure. The unique facility creates true-to-life training scenarios that replicate responses to actual disasters.

This year’s earthquake scenario will include a response by one of the Task Force’s 80-member response teams, which will deploy to its College Station-based headquarters and then be transported to Disaster City.

In the mock earthquake aftermath, the team must maneuver through Disaster City rescuing volunteer “victims” in rubble piles, cars, trains and structurally collapsed buildings. Leaking natural gas lines, electric transmission lines and overflowing sewer system scenarios will all be encountered – just like an actual disaster.

“While we hope an earthquake happening in Texas is a remote possibility, Texas Task Force 1 could respond to such a natural disaster in our role as a state or national US&R team,” said Bob McKee, director of the Task Force and the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Urban Search and Rescue division. “But the skills and experiences from this exercise will apply to any disaster, whether a terrorist attack or a weather event.”

The entire exercise is being managed out of TEEX’s Emergency Operations Training Center, which is part of the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. The 14,000-square-foot facility features the latest computerized emergency management technology and is optically linked to Disaster City through a series of strategically placed robotic cameras.

Both throughout and after the exercises, nationally renowned observer controllers will be on hand to provide critique and after action information to participants.

The operational readiness exercise is part of Texas Task Force 1’s role as one of 28 national urban search and rescue teams under FEMA. Additionally, the Task Force, which is sponsored by TEEX, serves as Texas’ only statewide urban search and rescue team under the direction of the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management.

Texas Task Force 1 is comprised of more than 300 emergency responders from more than 60 organizations and departments throughout Texas, with all members capable of deploying within a four-hour window. The team, which includes members ranging from firefighters to canines, is trained to respond to mass casualty incidents generated from both manmade and natural disasters.

The Task Force has responded to major incidents throughout the country, including the Aggie Bonfire Collapse in 1999, Fort Worth tornadoes in 2000, World Trade Center attacks in New York City in 2001, Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, among others.

Disaster City, a 52-acre training facility designed to deliver the full array of skills and techniques needed by emergency response professionals, serves as Texas Task Force 1’s home training base. The facility features full-size collapsible structures that replicate community infrastructure, including a strip mall, office building, industrial complex, assembly hall/theater, single family dwelling, train derailment and three rubble piles. Disaster City attracts emergency responders from throughout the world for search and rescue training and exercises.

TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, technical assistance and emergency response services impacting Texas and beyond. Agency programs include fire services, homeland security, public safety and security, public works, safety and health, search and rescue and economic development.

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