An official from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management came to Cypress Creek EMS to recognize the work of Communication Center Manager Niky Smith during Harvey. Francisco Sanchez, who is also the Liaison to Judge Ed Emmett for Homeland Security, said that during after action reviews of how the storm was handled a few names rose to the top for going above and beyond. One of those was Niky Smith. Here’s video of a portion of the presentation.
The recognition was a surprise for Niky who has been told that Sanchez was coming for a tour of Comm Center and a meeting over lunch. Both of those were true but Niky had no idea that she was also going to be recognized by Harris County.
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During Hurricance Harvey and the subsequent flooding, the CCEMS Comm Center handled more than 12,000 calls over a six day period. Most of those were for high water rescue, but there were also 834 emergency medical calls that included childbirth and heart attacks. The CCEMS Emergency Operations Center, headed by Wren Nealy, helped ambulance crews navigate around high water to get to patients and them get them to hospitals. EOC personnel created an online map of known high water areas which was constantly updated.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Department had representatives in the CCEMS EOC that helped assign civilians with boats that gathered in the CCEMS parking lot. Because of its incredible work during Harvey, the CCEMS Comm Center was named Telecommunicator of the Year at the State EMS Conference last fall. During Harvey, the Comm Center handled 9-1-1 and dispatch for a total of 16 emergency agencies, many of them fire departments.