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Homeland Security and Emergency Management

The City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) plans and prepares for emergencies, educates the public about preparedness, develops volunteers, manages grant funding to improve homeland security and public safety capabilities, coordinates emergency response and recovery, supports planned events, and works with public and partner organizations to protect our whole community when it needs us the most.

About HSEM


A disaster-prepared and resilient community. 


To serve as the coordinating focal point for preparedness, response, recovery, and education in any emergency or disaster that disrupts the community.

HSEM Staff

Executive Staff

Ken Snipes | Director

Aoife Longmore | Deputy Director

Emergency Management Programs

Bill Wilson | Chief Emergency Plans Officer

Louis Gonzales | Chief Emergency Plans Officer

Robin Wiatrek | Senior Emergency Plans Officer

Public Information and Marketing + Community Engagement and Outreach

Sara Henry | Public Information & Marketing Program Manager

David Alcorta | Community Engagement Specialist - Language Access

Vacant | Community Engagement Specialist 

Billy Callis | Public Information Officer, Sr. 

Christine Casebeer | Community Engagement Specialist

Matt Coleman | Marketing Rep B, Graphic Design

David Wiechmann | Public Information Officer, Sr. 

Disaster Recovery and Mitigation

Vacant | Business & Special Programs Manager

Bing Chen | Program Manager

Cindy Hood | Contract Management Specialist


Tanner Hunt | Chief Emergency Plans Officer Logistics

Stephanie Peden | Logistics

Jay Thibodeaux | Logistics

Mass Care 

Donny Cummings | Chief Emergency Mass Care Officer

Natalie Lyell | Resilience Hub Manager 

National Emergency Management Accreditation

EMAP Accredited logo

In 2017, the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) has reconfirmed the City of Austin’s emergency management program is among the elite emergency management leaders, following a full accreditation granted by the EMAP Commission.

The Commission announced the accreditation after conducting a peer-reviewed assessment of the City of Austin’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (Austin HSEM), which documented Austin HSEM’s compliance with 64 industry-recognized standards.

In 2012, the City of Austin was the first city in Texas to earn the voluntary five-year EMAP accreditation.

Facilities and Operations

Austin/Travis County Emergency Operations Center

The Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management maintain the Austin/Travis County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in partnership with Travis County.

During area-wide emergencies, the EOC serves as the command center for the City of Austin and Travis County response and recovery operations.

A variety of communications tools and backup systems are installed in the EOC to aid in the receipt and release of vital information. 

The EOC brings together City departments and regional partners to coordinate the flow of information and strategy development. Organizations and government agencies send representatives during an EOC activation, depending on the type and severity of emergency.

Incident Command System

HSEM staff are trained in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Incident Management System. The Incident Command System (ICS), is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach. It allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure, enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private, and establishes common processes for planning and managing resources.

Read more about the Incident Command System on FEMA’s website.

Community Grants

FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding support for facility hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack.