A brand new team is working along side local law enforcement and fire departments to help keep Texoma safe. The Wichita Falls Area Incident Management Team will help communities during large scale events and disasters.
The Wichita Falls Area Incident Management Team is the first in the region, but is number 16 in the state of Texas.
The Wichita Falls Fire Department is heading up the group, and officials said recent fire events prompted the development.
Fire Chief Earl Foster said, "With the wildfires that went through Wichita Falls and went through Wichita County and the surrounding area, kind of spurred us to push this forward and try to develop an incident management team."
Chief Foster said this team has been in the works for years. After a year of big fires, now is the perfect time to get it started, but the team won't just help with fire emergencies.
"It's not limited to just fire fighting," said Chief Foster. "It could be any incident, whether it be a disaster, or it could even be a law enforcement incident."
Members of the team come from surrounding areas, including Wichita Falls, to offer their expertise. The 24 member team is made up of fire fighters, police, emergency managers and even a physician.
Chief Foster said, "The concept of the incident management team is people that are specially trained that can come in and help communities set up a structure to allow them to be able to run a large incident."
The team won't be actively working during disasters, but will come in to help in the background offering support.
Chief Foster said this will help local law enforcement and fire departments get reimbursed from FEMA. "That documentation is so important in these types of events and that's one of the things we are able to do."
It's those behind the scenes roles that are so important, but can often fall by the wayside during an emergency.
"The hardest thing to do when you have a large scale event is to get control of the event and put your arms around it and put structure in place to efficiently and effectively mitigate that event," said Chief Foster.
The incident team will offer support to these eleven counties: