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In the News

Warn Central Texas self-registrations postponed during system transfer

Friday, September 21, 2018

CAPCOG and its local government partners selected a new regional notification system vendor — Everbridge — and is moving to the new platform. To manage the data transfer, CAPCOG is temporarily shutting down self-registrations at WarnCentralTexas.org from Friday, Sept. 21 to Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Local governments in Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties will still be able to send emergency warnings to residents during this time, and information at WarnCentralTexas.org will remain on the website. When the self-registration portal is turned back on starting Sept. 26, CAPCOG and Everbridge will send an email to all current self-registered participants asking them to update their information. Updating their information will ensure their info is accurate and may prevent them from receiving the same emergency alert multiple times.

> Read more about the regional notification system.
> Go to WarnCentralTexas.org.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

Fayette County Narcotics K-9 Unit receives Interdiction Awards at annual conference

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sgt. Randy Thumann, of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, was named 2017-18 Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year for his work stopping drug trafficking through Fayette County. Thumann has worked with CAPCOG’s Criminal Justice Program to secure Office of the Governor grants to buy equipment that improves Fayette County’s Interdiction Officer’s law enforcement capabilities. As part of the county’s most recent grant awards, the Sheriff’s Office purchased an x-ray scanner that lets Thumann search vehicles for hidden compartments containing drugs. “This just shows what a great partnership between the county and CAPCOG can achieve,” said Janet Carrigan, Fayette County homeland security chief and emergency management coordinator.

Thumann was given the award during the annual Motor Vehicle Criminal Interdiction Conference in late August in San Diego. Being named the Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year is the highest achievement attainable for an interdiction officer in the country. He also received an award for the largest cold-stop heroin seizure in the country.  The record heroin seizure occurred on March 2, 2017 when he discovered 35 kilos, or about 77 pounds, of heroin. He has made 12 seizures in 2018. Thumann was joined in San Diego by his family and Fayette County Sheriff Keith Korenek and Sgt. Ron Naumann.

Sgt. Randy Thumann, of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office, receives the Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year award at the annual Motor Vehicle Criminal Interdiction Conference. He stands long with his wife and Fayette County Sheriff Keith Korenek.

> Read more about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

9-1-1 network project finishes early, brings added resiliency

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

CAPCOG completed the construction of a secondary, independent fiber-optic line, or a backup network, into every public safety answering point location within the ten-county region. The project was started in mid-2016 and finished a year early. The exception is Hays County since it’s currently constructing a new combined emergency communications center; the backup line to be installed in that facility will be done during its construction.

Installing the additional fiber network creates redundancy for the region’s emergency communications system. Before its installation, a network outage could cause 9-1-1 calls to automatically be rerouted to neighboring PSAPs. This reroute process would lose a caller’s location information, which is beneficial in dispatching emergency responders if a call is dropped. Outages are often due to construction sites cutting a fiber-optic line. The back-up network established two routes for the fiber lines to enter the PSAPs. The backup network also allows for shorter downtimes for network maintenance.

The $6.4 million project had been a major priority for the Strategic Advisory Committee and was recommended for funding to CAPCOG’s Executive Committee, acting in its role as the Capital Area Emergency Communications District Board in 2016.

> Learn more about the CAPCOG Emergency Communications Division.

Ritchey leads CAPCOG Homeland Security Division with public safety pride

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Former Caldwell County Emergency Management Chief (EMC), Martin Ritchey joined CAPCOG in August to lead its Homeland Security Division; he brings with him a vast amount of emergency preparedness and response experience, an understanding of regional needs and cooperation, and a desire to further regional efforts enhancing emergency management planning.

CAPCOG's Homeland Security Director, Martin Ritchey, received a plaque from emergency management peers for serving as the Homeland Security Task Force chair while working as Caldwell County Emergency Management Chief. Ritchey became the CAPCOG Homeland Security director in August after 6 years of service in Caldwell County. Also pictured are Emergency Management Coordinator, Dorothy L. Miller (left); and Hays County Office of Emergency Management Director and Emergency Management Coordiantor, Kharley Bagley Smith (right).

“Public service is a privilege, and I thought I could have a bigger impact by serving not just my community but the region here,” Ritchey said. He started his emergency management career for the City of Hometown, Illinois Emergency Disaster Agency and as a volunteer chief for the Salvation Army’s Emergency Canteen Service for three Chicago area counties. While living in Caldwell County, the 2011 fires, which spread across Bastrop, Caldwell and Travis counties, called him back to the emergency management field. “The fire struck a chord with me,” he said. “It could have been my house on fire, and they were my neighbors’ homes. I thought I could help in future disasters.”

During 2012 and 2013, Ritchey served as the volunteer coordinator for Caldwell County before becoming the county’s EMC. He also was instrumental in creating Caldwell County’s Emergency Services District No. 4, of which he still serves as a volunteer firefighter and a commissioner. In his Caldwell County role, Ritchey has overseen the response, recovery and mitigation for five federally declared disasters in five years including hurricanes, floods and fires, and a hot air balloon crash that killed 16 which is classified as a Type I Incident Management Team event. Ritchey has served on CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Task Force for five years and has been the advisory committee’s chair and vice-chair. “I have worked with many of the people throughout the region for several years, and working with my colleagues in the cities and the counties at this capacity is an honor,” he said.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division.

Criminal Justice Program seeks stakeholder input

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program launched a digital survey and set two meetings to seek stakeholder input for developing the 2020 Criminal Justice Comprehensive Plan and determining the funding priorities for the ten-county region. The plan provides direction to CAPCOG’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee that recommends projects to the Office of the Governor for the General Victim Assistance Program, Violence Against Women Justice and Training Program, Juvenile Justice Grant Program, and Justice Assistance Grant Program.

“Input from organizations working in these areas of expertise is invaluable and can help the region better allocate funding to programs that address regional needs while also maximizing the region’s funding opportunities,” said Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development director.

The survey available at surveymonkey.com/r/FGN6NFF will close Sept. 16, while the meetings will take place on Oct. 1 and 3 at CAPCOG’s office, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165 in Austin.

> Take the survey.
> Register to attend the Oct. 1 stakeholder meeting.
> Register to attend the Oct. 3 stakeholder meeting.

The 2020 Criminal Justice Plan Year process started in July this year with a series of three applicant roundtable discussions about the process and what applicants want to make applying easier. As a result, CAPCOG will equip grant applicants with more information about the grants and the regions’ priorities. It also will provide information about similar funding opportunities as well as access to examples of previous applications that successfully received state funding. Grant workshops will take place in January.

> Learn more about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

RLEA offers new CIT course, new use-of-force training

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

CAPCOG’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) offered its first 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training course Aug. 13 through 17. As of April 2018, the course is a new state requirement for officers seeking intermediate certifications; those without an intermediate certificate or higher will need to complete the course within two years and take an update every four. Other new courses such as De-escalation Techniques Limiting the Use-of-Force in Public Interactions also will be available later this year.

The 40-hour crisis intervention course replaces its 16-hour predecessor by focusing more on key concepts, safety techniques and communication skills for responding to those in a mental health crisis. It trains peace officers to recognize indicators of mental illness, understand mental illness, how to work with mentally ill individuals and their families, and how to implement intervention strategies for low and high risk situations. While August’s course is full, CAPCOG will continue to offer the course throughout the training cycle.

The new de-escalation course is a requirement for intermediate and advanced certifications. Peace officers with basic certifications will need to take the new de-escalation course every four years. The course improves officers’ response to incidents involving people in crisis who are behaving erratically. It emphasizes public and officer safety while teaching tactical de-escalation to reduce the intensity of an encounter with a suspect. The training enables officers with additional options for voluntary compliance and to mitigate the need for a higher level of force while they maintain control of the situation. CAPCOG plans to offer the course in October.

> Check course availability.
> Learn more about RLEA.
 

CAPCOG General Assembly to set budget in September

Friday, August 17, 2018

CAPCOG’s General Assembly meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Wyndham Garden Austin, 3401 South IH 35 Frontage Road in Austin where its General Assembly representatives will consider the 2019 Fiscal Year Budget and elect the committee charged with recommending next year’s Executive Committee membership.

The current proposed budget, which goes before the CAPCOG Executive Committee in August, estimates expenditures for FY 2019 at $26.6 million, $13.3 million of which is allocated for 9-1-1 emergency communications expenses and $6.8 million of which is allocated to aging services program expenses. The Executive Committee will recommend a budget and a list of General Assembly members to serve on the Nominating Committee, a committee of seven members elected every September to develop a slate of city and county elected officials to be considered at December’s General Assembly meeting for the 2019 Executive Committee. They must also nominate four state legislators. A full meeting agenda and proposed budget will be mailed to General Assembly representatives later in August.

> General Assembly Members can RSVP for the meeting.

General Assembly members can attend for free and should contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator for a registration code.

Others can attend for the cost of lunch, $35.

> Learn about the General Assembly.

Striking a Balance Conference balances caregiving, self-caring

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


This year’s Striking a Balance Conference conducted by the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will feature Dr. Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist, family therapist and author of “The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent”.  The conference will be 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Doubletree Hilton, 6505 North IH 35 in Austin.

Jacobs will lead the 17th annual Striking a Balance Conference for family caregivers by discussing how to make sense of the turmoil caused by caregiving and ways to cope with competing loyalties, role reversal and changes caused by illnesses. “Speakers like Dr. Jacobs can be an extremely valuable resources for family caregivers,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG’s AAACAP director. “He is a practitioner who treats issues related to family caregiving because of his own passion about the subject born from his own caregiving experiences.”

Every year the conference brings national speakers to the region to educate family caregivers about achieving equilibrium in their lives while caring for loved ones. It is organized by AAACAP and Age of Central Texas, which seeks to improve the lives of caregivers by providing them with resources.

The conference also will include several breakout sessions on a variety of caregiving topics including caregiver 101, working caregivers, nutrition and aging and sleep changes through aging. However, the sharing and conversation among caregiver attendees is often the most valued benefit provided by the conference.

“When you bring more than a hundred caregivers together, they share stories and experiences and learn from one another,” Bordie said. “They learn they are not alone in experiencing their feelings, and they learn about what others have accomplished to strike a balance to be the best caregiver for their loved ones and their selves.”

> Register for the conference.
> Learn more about AAACAP.
> Learn about Age of Central Texas.

Disaster debris workshop empowers governments with pre-planning

Monday, August 13, 2018

CAPCOG will host a workshop on Planning for Disaster Debris Management from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 to help prepare communities for mitigating trash and rubble caused by natural and man-made incidents. The workshop will be at CAPCOG’s offices, 6800 Burleson Building 310, Suite 165, in Austin.

“Local governments that have pre-approved disaster debris management plans by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA can initiate response and mitigation activities immediately knowing that they will be eligible for reimbursement and sometimes receive greater re-imbursement rates than those without,” said Ken May, CAPCOG regional program coordinator.

Attendees will learn debris management components and best practices by using existing plan examples and case studies giving them the materials and skills needed to effectively and efficiently plan for debris management. Proper pre-planning for disaster debris protects critical infrastructure, minimizes health and safety risks, and assists with efficiently restoring a community to its pre-disaster state. While designed for emergency managers, this workshop benefits a variety of groups to include law enforcement personnel, government administrators, city planners, firefighters, hazardous materials teams, public works personnel, and community and residential volunteers

> Register for the workshop at preparingtexas.org.
> Contact May for assistance in developing a disaster debris management plan.

AAACAP enlightens professional care managers

Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area, a division of CAPCOG, is conducting a seminar for professional care managers and counselors so they can promote more positive caregiving support interventions throughout the region. The three-hour seminar starts at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24 in Room 1.108 at the JJ Pickle Research Center, 10100 Burnet Road in Austin.

Two national speakers — Clinical psychologists, Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D. and Dr. Julia L. Mayer, Psy.D., — will discuss with social workers and care managers how the long-term care they provide affects the lives of care receivers and their family caregivers. Jacobs presents regularly on caregiving for family caregivers, community groups, and medical and mental health professionals, and he is the national spokesperson on caregiving for the American Heart Association. Mayer specializes in women’s issues, including caregiving. Both are published on caregiving topics.

> Register for the seminar.
> Learn more about AAACAP.

Social Work CEUs will be offered.

CAPCOG hosts Connected Nation to discuss rural broadband issues

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Connected Nation, a nationwide nonprofit that helps expand broadband Internet, will bring together state and federal agencies with local leaders to discuss issues related to broadband infrastructure development and broadband adoption rates in rural communities. CAPCOG will host Connected Nation to conduct the meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 at its offices, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310 Suite 165 in Austin.

Access to the Internet via broadband services can be a major economic driver for rural communities, and there are multiple grants available to assist communities in developing the infrastructure to support the service; however, these resources often go untapped, said Tom Stephenson with Connected Nation. This meeting and several others being conducted around the state are to help garner feedback about access to such programs and how to get people and businesses better connected to the Internet. The feedback will be used to help foundations better target their programs.

Attending the meeting will be representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and Central Texas Library Systems. Local elected officials from every jurisdiction who are interested in the topic are welcome to attend.

> Learn about Connected Nation.
> Read about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

Symposium shares emergency planning best practices for schools

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The development of a school safety protocol and how its work with schools for planning, education, collaboration, communication and operational exercises was outlined by Hays County Emergency Services Director Kharley Smith at CAPCOG’s School Safety Symposium. CAPCOG also demonstrated its use-of-force simulator to school district attendees which uses mock scenarios to train officers for responding to threats inside schools.

To develop its School Safety Protocol, Hays County Emergency Management, the Sherriff’s Office, San Marcos Police Department, and San Marcos Fire Marshall’s Office collaborated with each school district in the county and launched the protocol at every campus. “It really doesn’t have to be complicated,” Smith said noting the county’s protocol briefly outlines actions for faculty, staff and students to take during all emergencies. “You have four directives that would apply to all hazards.”

The event brought together public safety agencies and school districts representatives to discuss emergency planning for school campuses by featuring Hays County’s county-wide School Safety Protocol program recently recognized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Hays County conducts an emergency drill at every school once a year. “We drill, we practice for muscle memory,” Smith said. During the drills, students, faculty and staff practice the protocols either a lockdown or lockout drill while public safety teams practice responding as if the incident was real. Training in tandem prepares everyone involved to know what to expect from one another during emergencies. It also builds a relationship between the first responders, students and school district personnel, Smith said. As part of the drill, emergency personnel and school district staff discuss the operation before and after the exercise to learn from each drill.

Hays County also conducts an educational campaign once a year at every campus, where they show videos and hold a general assembly for older students while teachers present the information to younger students — first through third graders. “Every year, every year, we are teaching this to the students and the first responders,” Smith said. “So the faculty, staff, and students all learn the same thing. We have trained over 300,000 people in Hays County since the program began… we have trained so much that the procedures have become common language.”

Lt. David Burns with the Hays County Sherriff’s Office also discussed the Avoid, Deny and Defend strategy or ADD, which teaches people to first attempt to avoid a shooter or threat, then attempt to deny an assailant entry into their location, and defend themselves as a last resort. The strategy is taught through Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center’s Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event Program.

> View the Hays County Emergency Services School Safety Protocol presentation.

CAPCOG aging resources make more direct connections

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) entered into an agreement with the Texas Housing Foundation (THF) to use satellite office space at several community resource centers around the region to give seniors more access to its services. AAACAP staff will visit centers located at THF properties in Liberty Hill, Llano and Marble Falls once a month to help streamline access to community-based services by providing increased opportunities for face-to-face client assessments, educational presentations, and meetings with local service providers.

AAACAP care coordinators, benefits counselors, and medication screening support staff will use the office space to meet with older adults and family caregivers seeking information, referral and assistance. Being directly in the community enhances AAACAP’s ability to provide timely connections to in-home support services, application assistance, public benefits guidance and medication management information. With the promise of streamlined access available through a satellite model, AAACAP continues to search for expanding office-hour opportunities at other local locations across the ten-county CAPCOG region. AAACAP is a division of CAPCOG.

> Learn more about its services.

RETF to train special enforcement, deterrent methods

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Regional Environmental Task Force (RETF) and CAPCOG will host two courses on how to recognize and enforce environmental crimes. The courses being provided for sanitarians, code enforcement officers, and peace officers will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 15 and 16 at the Travis County East Service Center, 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Building A in Austin.

“This region is growing very fast, and that makes environmental crimes a big problem with the potential of occurring in every neighborhood and every area,” said Dennis Rudder, Sgt. Investigator for the Travis County Attorney’s Office and RETF president. “These courses bring environmental law to the forefront, and teach officers how to practically use the health and safety code and water code to investigate and prosecute crimes based on the experiences of the RETF.”

Both courses will cover subjects including public nuisance, solid waste violations, illegal dumping, illegal outdoor burning, and water pollution. The first course teaches a basic understanding of the topics, while the second teaches an advanced level. The latter also will cover household hazardous waste violations and the identification of hazardous chemicals. Each biennium the training is updated to reflect recent legislative changes. CAPCOG and the RETF have offered this training throughout the state since 2007 and taught more than 600 people. Peace officers, code enforcement officers and sanitarians can receive six training hours of continuing education for taking each course. The basic course also offers four continuing education units to on-site sewage facility workers.

> Attend the basic course.
> Attend the intermediate course.
> Learn more about the RETF.

ARDC to strengthen long-term care, support connections

Thursday, July 19, 2018

CAPCOG and its Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area will hold a second annual Advocacy Day & Resource Fair to support the ADRC Steering Committee partners from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Aug. 15 at Common’s Learning Center, JJ Pickle Research Center, 10100 Burnet Road in Austin. Advocacy Day is a combined training, meeting, and partner recognition event that works to build the capacity of the long-term care and support network for services to older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Event speakers will discuss Advocacy Day’s theme, “Compassion Fatigue, Help for the Helper”, and attending organizations will have time to network. “Advocacy Day is a forum where we can share information about our resources for individuals and receive a better understanding what connections to make for the individual so their needs are best met,” said Vivian Harris, CAPCOG ADRC Coordinator and Lead Navigator.

ADRC steering committee member organizations — nonprofits, government services organizations and community stakeholders — are invited to participate.

> Register to attend.
> Learn more about the ADRC.

Mexico delegation learns about law enforcement training at CAPCOG

Thursday, July 12, 2018

CAPCOG’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) and Emergency Communications divisions hosted a delegation of 13 peace officer professionals from Mexico in April, as part of a weeklong tour of Central Texas law enforcement agencies for the Police Professionalization Exchange Program conducted by Global Ties U.S. and the U.S. Department of States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, so they could learn about training and operational best practices.

Randy Holmes, RLEA director, discussed the rigorous training cadets go through during CAPCOG’s Basic Peace Officer Course and how the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) and local jurisdictions determine the educational standards and courses taught by CAPCOG. Holmes explained peace officers’ need for continuing education and that CAPCOG serves as a regional resource to lower training costs for individual jurisdictions to receive such career development.

Peter Behnke, Emergency Communications assistant director, and Kelsey Dean, public safety answering point specialist, lead discussions on training and the operations behind emergency telecommunicators answering 9-1-1 calls. The delegation was particularly interested in how emergency telecommunicators receive their own specialized training and are directly integrated into the public safety field as a valuable member of the response team and as the first, first responder. The delegation also toured the RLEA and Emergency Communication’s training rooms and sat in an academy course.

With operational best practices as a goal, the delegation also spent time with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, UT System Police Department, and Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.

> Learn more about RLEA.
> Find a RLEA training course for you.
> Learn more about Emergency Communications.
> Find an emergency telecommunicator course for you.

CAPCOG uses EDA funding for new disaster recovery, resiliency projects

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CAPCOG is taking on two projects; one that will support the region’s over-all disaster resiliency, and one that will help stimulate economic activity for jurisdictions within the Hurricane Harvey FEMA disaster declaration.

Using U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant funds, CAPCOG will work with jurisdictions in Bastrop, Caldwell, Lee and Fayette counties to identify economic development opportunities that either aid in their economic recovery from the effects of Hurricane Harvey or improve their economic resiliency. CAPCOG will help navigate such economic projects from ideas to fruition by connecting them with the appropriate funding mechanism. EDA, whose regional office is in Austin, has been awarded a large amount of supplemental disaster recovery funding to be allocated in Harvey-affected areas. 

Within the same EDA grant, CAPCOG will launch a regional GIS portal allowing emergency response personnel to access regional data sets in a live and secure environment. The portal will allow for jurisdictions to share mapping data as quickly as it is developed, making it easier to respond and recover from disasters that cross jurisdictional boundaries. The project will enhance the capabilities of WebEOC, a virtual tool used by emergency personnel to share incident information across jurisdictions and track the allocation of local resources, by providing more robust mapping data to the communication tool.

> Read about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

Homeland Security, RLEA offer School Safety Symposium

Monday, June 25, 2018

The CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division and Regional Law Enforcement Academy are planning a symposium on response techniques and preparedness for school shooting incidents from 9 to 11 a.m., Monday, July 30 at the CAPCOG offices, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 155 in Austin. The symposium will provide information to leaders from school districts, police departments, emergency management teams, and emergency medical services about recognized best-practices used statewide to mitigate school shootings as well as allow participants to experience an active shooter in a school environment with CAPCOG’s use-of-force simulator.

Hays County Director of Emergency Services, Kharley Smith, will speak about their county’s school safety protocol program, a program that was recognized by Governor Greg Abbott during his efforts to look at solutions following the Santa Fe High School shooting. The county’s program provides instruction and training to every school district and law enforcement agency in the county on any type of dangerous or potentially dangerous situation as well as conducts response drills annually at every campus. A Citizen’s Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) trainer, David Burns with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, will discuss strategies and guidance for individuals surviving an active shooter event and how local jurisdictions can educate their communities on using these strategies. CRASE was developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. 

A draft agenda will be posted at capcog.org by July 13.

> Register for School Safety Symposium.
> Sign-up to take part in a use-of-force simulator demonstration.

Commute Solutions grows with CAMPO aid, helps seniors and workforce development

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) included in its 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) $250,000 to support CAPCOG’s Commute Solutions program that will help expand efforts for reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips, connecting seniors to transportation options and allowing others to reach workforce development opportunities throughout the region in FY 2019. The funds will be Category 7, Transportation Demand Management (TDM) category funding.

“Regional TDM programs like CAPCOG’s Commute Solutions program have an important role to play in improving transportation and quality of life in the region,” said Andrew Hoekzema, CAPCOG Regional Services director. “We look forward to being able to use these funds to enhance our ability to deliver results for the region’s residents.” CAMPO’s approval of federal funding will bring the program in line with similar programs in other large Texas metros. The funding will help enhance project coordination with regional transit partners to increase Commute Solutions participation and further planning and implementation of TDM initiatives

> Get more details about Commute Solutions.
> Participate in Commute Solutions.

EMCs, fire officials promote WarnCentralTexas.org as part of wildfire safety

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The national “Ready, Set, Go!” program tells residents to reduce wildfire risk by taking earlier actions, such as clearing brush from around homes and packing evacuation “go kits” which contain items such as important documents, medications and food. It also states residents should remain aware of wildfire news and information. “In Central Texas, residents can receive immediate emergency information directly from emergency responders by registering for alerts at WarnCentralTexas.org,” said Williamson County Emergency Management Director Jarred Thomas. “These warnings often provide incident information and instructions such as when it’s time to ‘Go!’, or evacuate your home.”

Thomas was one of several fire and emergency management officials from the CAPCOG ten-county region who recently encouraged residents to prepare for the 2018 wildfire season during a press conference in May. The officials promoted two national preparedness programs and stated each can be enhanced by the regional Warn Central Texas program.

Austin Fire Department’s Lt. Steve Gibbon said 449 wildfires already have occurred in the Austin area in 2018 and as development continues throughout the region it is important to promote the Firewise USA program which teaches communities to work together to reduce wildfire risks. “All of our residents should adopt the Firewise USA practices,” Gibbon said.  “In this region’s case, that also includes telling your neighbors to sign up for local warnings through WarnCentralTexas.org.” The WarnCentralTexas.org alert system is provided by CAPCOG and serves the ten-county region.

> Learn about Ready, Set, Go!
> Learn more about Firewise USA.
> Read about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

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