March 2018   


12th Annual CERT Rodeo Attracts Hundreds of Volunteers

More than 450 participants and volunteers took part in the Harris County Citizen Corps 2018 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Rodeo on Feb. 10 at the Harris County Fire & Sheriff's Training Academy in Humble.
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) from around the state tested their skills in medical operations, search and rescue, fire suppression, incident command and hazmat recognition. A total of 17 teams participated in a full day of hands-on activities. Event organizers agree that this event helps CERT members practice and improve their skills.
"Harris County's CERT program is one of the strongest in the nation," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "The program's success is due in large part to its partnership with first responders, non-profit agencies, local jurisdictions and community organizations."
In 2017, CERT membership grew to more than 30,000 trained volunteers. During Hurricane Harvey's initial response and ongoing recovery phase, CERT volunteers were instrumental to the success of local agencies and organizations. Team members from across the county volunteered at shelters and donation centers, assisted their neighbors, helped with traffic control and helped emergency responders transport residents to safety after they were evacuated from their homes.
Team members test their fire suppression
abilities at the 2018 CERT Rodeo.

"CERT volunteers are essential partners and play a crucial role in emergency preparedness and recovery," added Emmett. "We appreciate their dedication and selfless service that helps keep our communities safer."

To be a CERT member, individuals must complete an extensive eight-week course taught by first responders to improve their proficiency in emergency preparedness basics that can be used in their homes, workplaces and communities.
The Harris County Citizen Corps membership includes 30,000 trained volunteers involved in 274 Community Emergency Response Teams; 21,984 volunteers from 24 volunteers in Police Service agencies; 4,165 volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps; 6,137 volunteers from the 351 neighborhoods participating in the USAonWatch program; and 24 Fire Corps programs.
To join Harris County Citizen Corps, or for more information about the CERT program go to Harris County Citizen Corps news and updates also are available on Facebook.

Team simulating patient transport at 2018 CERT Rodeo.

Teams from across the state, including Dallas CERT,
participated in this year's event.

Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force Launched

A Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force and reporting hotline were launched in February to improve and streamline the process for reporting animal cruelty and neglect in Harris County and the City of Houston.
The task force, led by Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap and Crime Stoppers of Houston working with law enforcement agencies and key partners, created a hotline and website to help residents report animal cruelty and neglect to the correct agency. These new tools will speed up response times and avoid duplication of rescue efforts.
Other partners include the Harris County Animal Shelter, the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Houston Police Department, BARC Animal Shelter, Houston PetSet, Houston Humane Society, and ADORE Houston Rescue. DrumBEAT Marketing donated its time and services to create the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force reporting website.
The Harris County Animal Shelter manages the task force hotline, and the shelter's staff is providing animal control resources and handling medical evaluations for all animal cruelty cases.
What Can Be Reported to 832-927-PAWS?
Dog Fighting
Who Abuses Animals?
Cruelty and neglect crosses all social and economic boundaries, and media reports suggest that animal abuse is common in both rural and urban areas.
Intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people.
Hoarding behavior often victimizes animals. Sufferers of a hoarding disorder may impose severe neglect on animals by housing far more than they are able to manage. Serious animal neglect (such as hoarding) is often an indicator of people in need of social or mental health services.
Surveys suggest that those who intentionally abuse animals are predominantly men under 30, while those involved in animal hoarding are more likely to be women over 60.
The Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce hopes to make a larger impact in the lives of abused and neglected animals through education, awareness and the group's continued collaboration.
Call 832-927-PAWS (7297) or visit to file an animal cruelty or neglect report.

Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Receives Top Honor

Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) Mark Sloan has been named 2018 Emergency Manager of the Year by the Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT).
"It is a well-deserved recognition. Mark and his team work very hard to keep our community safe," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "This is why Harris County is a national model for preparedness and response."
The "Lou Harrell" Emergency Manager of the Year Award honors an EMAT member who is responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive emergency management program that epitomizes the best in Texas emergency management. Sloan was selected for his leadership during the many challenges that Harris County faced in 2017, including Super Bowl 51, Hurricane Harvey and the World Series.
"I am humbled to be honored by my peers," said Sloan. "It is a great privilege to serve the residents of Harris County."
Sloan has served as Harris County EMC for the last 10 years and also is head of the Harris County Citizen Corps program. His leadership through Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Harvey have earned him local, state and national recognition.
"It was a unanimous decision to recognize Mark for his commitment and leadership," said EMAT President Kevin Starbuck. "We applaud his continuous labor to strengthen emergency plans and build relationships to ensure Harris County residents are prepared for the next disaster."