AUSTIN, Texas —
In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey, many citizens along the Texas coastline are displaced and in need of basic necessities. Local, state and federal agencies are working together to support the affected areas of Southeastern Texas. One of those agencies is the Defense Coordinating Officer and Element, or DCO/E.
The U.S. is dissected into ten Federal Emergency Management Agency regions. Each FEMA Region has a collocated active-duty DCO/E for planning, synchronizing and incorporating Defense Support of Civil Authorities, or DSCA, with local, state and federal agencies.
Serving at the entry-point for all local, tribal, state, and federal requests for Department of Defense assistance, the nine-person element is FEMA’s single-point of contact for DOD support.
“As a part of the Army’s DSCA, furthermore as a part of FEMA region VI, we are here to support the response capability to assist civilian responders in lifesaving and life sustaining measures,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Frankenstein, the operations non-commissioned officer with U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) region VI DCE.
Each FEMA region analyzes threats to its areas and deploys support based off of those assessments. With citizens along the coastline of Texas inundated by massive flooding, FEMA Region VI, headquartered at Denton, Texas, jumped into action. FEMA coordinated disaster response efforts with the DCE.
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encompasses five states to include Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas. For FEMA, coordinating efforts is essential to helping the American populace. Although FEMA Region VI is in the lead for Texas relief efforts, Region VII, located in Kansas City, Mo., is also supporting.
“We say at FEMA that all disasters are local, that’s because the local authorities know best, they know their people, they know the area, they are intimately aware with how hard they were hit, and we need that knowledge,” said Daniel Green, an external affairs officer with FEMA’s Region VIII Incident Management Assistance Team based out of Denver, Colo. “This is an event unlike any other we’ve seen on the Texas coast and it’s an event that we are here to do anything we can to provide aid and assistance for the people of the Lone Star State.”
Since mobilization, the DCE has worked tirelessly to support FEMA’s relief efforts by providing military assistance, said Frankenstein.
According to FEMA officials, more than 30,000 people are in 230 shelters across Texas.
“We’re here to help however possible, and we’re happy to work with anyone on any level of government to make sure that happens.”