Regional CERT Teams Assist During Marlin Water Crisis


Marlin, TX – On Monday, November 30, 2015, Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG) personnel from the Homeland Security Division traveled to Marlin, Falls County, Texas to assist with a catastrophic water system failure that resulted in the loss of water services to the city.  A boil order notice was initially issued on Thanksgiving evening and by Sunday night the city had lost all water in the storage tanks as a result of water plant failure.  At that time, the local jurisdiction’s capability to meet needs within the community was exceeded.  The water system failure resulted in the loss of water service to 5,967 residents, 2,008 residential structures, and 260 commercial structures.  Commercial structures included local businesses, Falls Community Hospital, Marlin ISD school facilities, several skilled nursing facilities, and the Hobby Unit (prison).

Response activities included emergency repairs on the water plant and the distribution of water (both potable and non-potable) to impacted residents.  Local officials identified the need for volunteers to assist with the emergency distribution of water to residents.  Points of distribution were established at the H-E-B and Walmart facilities in Marlin.  On December 2, 2015, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) from throughout the Heart of Texas region were activated and deployed to assist the city by HOTCOG personnel representing the Heart of Texas Citizen Corps Council.

Of the responding teams, Mart ISD Teen CERT provided seven (7) volunteers for a total of 126 volunteer hours.  Texas State Technical College (TSTC) CERT provided five (5) volunteers for a total of 15 volunteer hours.  Bosque County CERT provided three (3) volunteers for a total of 18 volunteer hours.  Whitney CERT provided four (4) volunteers for a total of 24 volunteer hours.  Total hours volunteered by local CERT teams were 183 hours across a three-day deployment period.  HOTCOG provided meals for deployed volunteers for the duration of the deployment and coordinated CERT responses within the City of Marlin.

All CERT teams involved in the response to the water crisis were deactivated at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2015.  HOTCOG staff and CERT teams continue to remain available to assist the community in meeting any identified needs as the water crisis continues.  The videos and photographs below highlight the CERT responses and their impact during this locally-declared disaster.

Deployment Photographs

Deployment Videos

Regional Deployment Video – this video highlights the work performed by CERT volunteers from across the 6-county HOTCOG region in Marlin, Texas.

Teen CERT Interviews – this video highlights the experiences of Mart High School Teen CERT volunteers who deployed to assist the City of Marlin.

City of Marlin Appreciation Video – this video utilizes interviews with City of Marlin officials to demonstrate the City’s appreciation for the CERT volunteers, particularly the Mart High School Teen CERT volunteers, who assisted during the locally-declared disaster.