Steven Jones is the Public Safety
Communications Supervisor for the City of Baytown.
Took the CERT Class on June 20, 2012
“It always seemed to me that in the time of a major event, everyone always thinks about the officers, firemen, medics, etc. But the dispatchers seem to be left out. So I joined TERT to help out dispatch centers in their time of need.” - Steven Jones
On August 30, Louisiana Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) State Coordinator Violet Anderson notified National Joint TERT Initiative (NJTI) Co-Chairs Sherry Decker and Natalie Duran of a TERT request for assistance by the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office PSAP. The center had been overloaded with requests for service in response to Hurricane Isaac, and all the Telecommunicators, who were also victims of the storm, had been working nonstop.
The eight-member Texas TERT Team, consisting of six members and two Team Leaders, was called on to provide support for the PSAP staff who were pushing 40hours on-duty without relief. Baytown Communications Supervisor Steve Jones was called on to be a member of this team, and was the only representative on the team from the Houston area. Once given authorization to deploy in conjunction with EMAC, Steve traveled to Laplace, LA the evening of August 30th to provide relief to the Telecommunicators.
As expected, the conditions were not ideal. There was no water and only sporadic cell phone service when they arrived, and they were sleeping on cots or air mattresses. Eventually they were stationed in a hospital with electricity and water. Steve and the other TERT members worked closely with the Telecommunicators in Laplace to help restore order, maintain public safety, and provide information and assistance to those affected by the hurricane. After a week of deployment, Steve returned home on September 6th.
When asked about his experience, Steve had this to say, “Deploying to another agency to help dispatch is not easy, but I met so many wonderful people and I can’t tell you how many times after finding out I was from Texas people would say “God bless you for coming to help us out.” It truly was an eye-opening experience. “
Ray Pheris, Communications Coordinator- City of Baytown