News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Thursday, Apr. 5th, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga -- An Augusta company was right in the middle of the tornadoes that drove through northern Texas on Tuesday, An estimated twelve tornadoes touched down in the Dallas- Fort Worth area creating widespread damage.
Augusta based ESi headed up the emergency management systems for the disaster. Their involvement came from being in the right place at the right time
ESi is the leader in global emergency management systems. Their international headquarters are on Broad St. in Augusta, but on Tuesday they were in Texas for the State Emergency Management Convention.
A dozen tornadoes twisting through a city, but many of those trained to help handle a disaster were hundreds of miles away. CEO of ESi, Jim Fulton, said many of the Dallas Ft. Worth Emergency Managers were in San Antonio for the conference. "Just as all the state level emergency managers assembled in San Antonio a dozen or more tornadoes touched down in the Dallas Ft Worth metroplex," he said.
When the storm hit north Texas, destroying homes and even sending tractor trailers flying through the air, the emergency managers were able to respond quickly. "We had all the top talent in the entire state plus many federal agencies come to the Texas event," said Fulton. "It was a well qualified group to deal with this event."
Augusta-based ESi was a major player at the conference, and was immediately chosen as the command center. "Since our trade show booth is actually designed to function as an emergency operation center and they've known that for many years," he said. "They asked us if we could activate our booth and they could manage the emergency from our booth in San Antonio."
Fulton said the booth is well-equipped for this situation. "One of the things that allows us to do this our booth is not only equipped as an EOC to demonstrate our products, but it also is staffed with trained emergency management professionals so they knew exactly what to do."
Professionals, who had the command center up and running in less than five minutes. They continued the operations throughout the day until the last tornado had twisted away.
Fulton said this isn't the first time they've dealt with a situation like this. Since the company started in 1997 its convention booth has been turned into a command center for a disaster four different times.