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Homeland Security

Regional Planning for Homeland Security

In June 2002, The Governor's Office requested that all Councils of Governments develop regional homeland security plans as part of a state planning initiative. Planning at the regional level was chosen due to the scale and scope of potential weapons of mass destruction incidents and the geographic size of Texas.

Regional Notification System

CAPCOG manages the regional notification system (RNS),, for local governments in the 10-county region as a crucial public-safety tool to alert residents of disasters — natural and man-made. The web-based tool allows public safety officials to effectively notify small or large areas of residents in a short period of time by phone call, text, or email. Such message can contain incident-specific information, recommended protective actions or response directives.

> Read more about the RNS system.

While CAPCOG inputs all landline and VoIP numbers into the system, cellphone number and email address are voluntarily submitted by residents. Elected Officials and emergency management personnel throughout the region want every resident to register their mobile devices at To reach this goal, CAPCOG and other communities have developed a number of tools to help residents and communities to spread the word.

> Learn how to promote

> Read a draft copy of the CAPCOG National Preparedness Month resolution.

State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) 

Texas uses a regional approach to the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), providing an allocation through each Council of Governments (COG) for regional and local projects, subject to approval by the state. Every year CAPCOG oversees the allocation for the SHSP funds and releases its grant process to the jurisdictions residing in the 10-county region. 

CAPCOG has announced funding opportunities through the FY 2018 SHSP grant.

> Read more information on the grant program.

Regional Mutual Aid

CAPCOG has worked with stakeholders and elected officials since 2003 on the issue of regional mutual aid. Stakeholders including jurisdictions and multiple response disciplines have provided input on mutual aid from legal consideration and reimbursement issues, to disaster operations realities that impact the provision of mutual aid. CAPCOG shared a tiered mutual aid template with jurisdictions at the beginning of 2004 which was favorably received across the region as indicated by the 90% adoption rate. The mutual aid agreements had a companion document called the CAPCOG Mutual Aid Plan which contained regional details about mutual aid provisions. In 2006, CAPCOG simplified and updated the tiered regional mutual aid agreement to a universal agreement for all political subdivisions. This agreement provides a framework for the sharing of critical resources among CAPCOG jurisdictions in responding to natural or man-made emergencies.

> View the Regional Mutual Aid Agreement.

Regional Assets

There are currently three strike teams within the CAPCOG region, whose primary purpose is to provide highly technical response to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) events within the CAPCOG region. The teams are comprised of personnel from hazardous material, law enforcement and medical disciplines, and are located in: Hays and Williamson counties and the City of Austin. In addition to these three teams, the Austin Police Department Bomb Squad provides a response with all team deployment as does the Regional Mobile Communication Vehicle.

The strike teams will only respond to incidents that are categorized as catastrophic weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or terrorist attacks. A detailed screening and dispatching procedure has been developed in an effort to ensure these resources are utilized to their fullest capabilities.

> Learn more about the regional strike team equipping and training.

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an emergency preparedness program supported by the federal government that trains citizen volunteers to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. CERT Teams are organized under the leadership of a local jurisdiction and receive specialized training that enhance their role to provide critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT teams also help with non-emergency programs to help improve the safety of the community. Within CAPCOG, CERT teams are associated with City of Austin OEM, City of Cedar Park, City of Pflugerville, City of Sunset Valley, Bastrop County, Fayette County, and Hays County.

> Refer to the CERT national website to learn more.


> Contact the Homeland Security Division staff.

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