The Department of Homeland Security today officially released a report in which it details just how well prepared 75 U.S. metropolitan areas in case of an emergency. Specifically, the DHS wanted to whether cities' emegency agencies were able to talk to each other in case of some kind of a disaster, be it man-made or natural. And it turns out, Dallas-Fort Worth -- which, in this instance, includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties -- is kinda-sorta prepared, though not as well as Houston. C'mon. Houston beats us?
You can read the entirety of the report here; Dallas-Fort Worth's info is found on pages 106 and 107. But it says, in short,while there are some positive signs that folks in, say, Dallas can talk to, oh, Rockwall in an emergency, there are too many agencies (some 300) saying too little to each other, and there's no cohesive "regional interoperability strategic plan" in place at the moment. And there are little things like this: The Arlington Police Department and Arlington Fire Department couldn't talk to each other. Turns out each "used different command channels, since there was no talk groups designated for the use of unified command," says the report. Little things like that. --Robert Wilonsky
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.