A new Dallas County Emergency Operations Center was put through the motions Wednesday in a severe storm drill.
The scenario was a Force Five tornado causing mass casualties at a downtown Dallas building but also touching down in several other Dallas County cities.
“It’s going to be something we’ve got to be aware of,” said Mark Fox with the National Weather Service. “Today is really kind of the start of the severe storm season. We are in a risk area.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is also the county’s top homeland security official.
He said drills are always a worse than likely scenario.
“We want to stretch our resources as much as we can so that we have our decision-makers go beyond just what their department playbook says,” said Jenkins.
The drill Wednesday included representatives from all the cities in Dallas County along with utility companies.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail and we constantly drill on these so we have the best chance of providing citizens with the best outcome,” Jenkins said.
The modern, new EOC on high ground in a West Dallas building replaces the cramped, old one that was housed in a third-floor corner of the Records Building downtown.
The new location also houses facilities for the Dallas County Clerk and a court defendant public service program.
The building was purchased and outfitted with an investment of around $7.5 million, County Clerk John Warren said.