Five members of the Williamson County Emergency Services Department have been deployed to El Paso in the wake of the Aug. 3 Wal-Mart mass shooting that left 22 dead, according to a news release.
The group will support first responders in need through staffing a First Responder Resiliency Center and will provide peer support to federal, state, tribal and local first responders 24 hours a day, the release said.
Due to the scale and scope of the incident, local behavioral health services are focused on assisting victims and families, the release said. The team’s goal is to assist responders in distress and to create a framework for other deployed critical incident stress management teams to follow, the release said. The team will serve for seven days and then will rotate out, it said.
“When the state made the request for assistance, we responded willingly and swiftly. Williamson County is proud to be able to assist our fellow first responders in El Paso County during this horrific tragedy,” County Judge Bill Gravell said in the release. “We understand that incidents such as this are extremely traumatic and take extensive energy and personnel, so we are honored to help our brother and sister first responders.”
The Williamson County emergency services team includes members from the:
- Fire Marshal Special Operations Department
- Williamson County EMS Mobile Outreach Team
- Williamson County EMS Peer Support Team
- Emergency Services District
- Texas office of the attorney general
“Over time, we have learned that the more support we can give the first responders who witness and respond to these types of traumatic incidents, the better they can cope during the months ahead,” said Annie Burwell, director of the Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team, in the release. “They need to know their health and well-being is important, too.”
The state will reimburse the county for all costs associated with the deployment.