Travis County enters resource-sharing agreement in cases of mass-fatality events

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Travis County commissioners approved by consent motion an agreement July 16 that addresses the inclusion of the Texas Mass Fatality Operations Team, or TMORT, in the county’s existing Emergency Task Force system.

Under the agreement, the Travis County medical examiner will participate in the statewide Emergency Task Force system if called upon during times of mass fatality incidents; in turn, the county will have access to TMORT resources should a mass-fatality incident occur locally.

TMORT resources include an incident site team, morgue operations team, identification review team and victim information team.

A mass-fatalities incident is one that produces more fatalities than can be managed with locally available resources, according to a 2019 overview presented by the National Mass Fatalities Institute. The threshold for what constitutes a mass-fatalities incident changes from community to community.

Such incidents can include commercial airplane crashes, natural disasters, fires and mass shootings, per NMFI.

“Access to TMORT resources during a mass fatality event may enhance our ability to deal with the impact of the disaster,” county staff wrote in a brief.

Additionally, Travis County relies on an existing partnership with the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council in such situations.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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