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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

Juan OrtizDirector

A native Texan, born in Rio Hondo and raised in Brownsville Texas, Juan attended the University of North Texas in Denton. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Administration and Disaster Planning in May 1994. 

Juan began his career in 1994 with the City of Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management as an Emergency Management Officer until the summer of 1998, when he accepted the position of Emergency Management Coordinator with the City of Corpus Christi. In 2003, Juan accepted the position of Emergency Management Coordinator with the City of Fort Worth where his primary duties included the coordination of response to major emergencies and disasters through a joint City and County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). In 2005, Juan coordinated the EOC operations in response to both Hurricane Katrina and Rita, and in 2008 coordinated all city operations in response to both Hurricane Gustav and Ike. In 2011, Juan coordinated the Fort Worth EOC operations in support of Super Bowl 45 and record-setting Winter Storm.

Juan retired from the United States Coast Guard Reserve in 2015 as a Chief Petty Officer with 28 years of service. Juan’s military services included Coast Guard Reserve Unit Port Isabel, Reserve Unit Dallas, and Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi, among others.

In 2001, the University of North Texas recognized Juan as a Distinguished Alumni for his contribution to the profession of emergency management. Juan has completed the City of Fort Worth Leadership Development Program and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) Executive Leadership Development Program. He is a founding member of the Fort Worth Hispanic Leadership Organization.

Juan is a member of the Emergency Management Association of Texas, the International Association of Emergency Managers, and the International Hispanic Network. He is currently a board member of the Longhorn Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Aoife Longmore | Assistant Director

Stephanie PedenExecutive Assistant

Emergency Management Programs

Bill Wilson | Chief Emergency Plans Officer

Louis Gonazles| Chief Emergency Plans Officer

Donny Cummings | Senior Emergency Plans Officer

Robin Wiatrek | Senior Emergency Plans Officer

Community Preparedness Programs

Sara Henry | Public Information & Marketing Program Manager

Nelson Andrade | Community Preparedness Program Coordinator

Helena Wright-Jones | Public Information Officer, Senior

Disaster Recovery and Mitigation

Vacant | Business & Special Programs Manager

Bing Chen | Program Manager

Cindy Hood | Contract Management Specialist

National Emergency Management Accreditation

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).

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. A variety of 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 Incident Command 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.