Emergency Response Plan Between Sister Cities Expands
BROWNSVILLE — It's been about ten years since the sister cities have taken a comprehensive look at the Emergency Response Agreement.
"The original plan from 1997 was really focused around hazardous materials response and fire fighting," says Brownsville’s Assistant City Manager, Jeff Johnston.
The updated version of the agreement will now cover a broader range of disasters.
"We've added health, we've added fire, public works, we've added utilities to that agreement, so if we had a major incident on one side or the other, that say involved the need for utility trucks, it'd be much easier to send trucks and crews back and forth. That's something we couldn't do with the plan originally," explains Johnston.
Whatever the disaster, the goal of the plan is to make sure transition from one side to the other is as smooth and quick as possible.
While the city of Brownsville and Matamoros have held a strong relationship for a long time now, another city is joining in the mix.
"One of the other changes with the agreement is that we have added Valle Hermoso to the agreement as well. So they are now a part of that should they need assistance we would be able to respond under the agreement to assist them as well," says Johnston.
Johnston adds because we are so close, what affects our sister cities across the river often affects us and vice versa. Having a joint agreement to assist in a time of disaster is a win-win for all three.
As of now mayors and their respective city commissions are reviewing the agreement before officially signing off on it; as soon as that happens, the plan will take effect immediately.