AUSTIN, Texas - Crews setting up for game day could be seen Friday all across the UT campus, but just out of sight security teams were also preparing. "Dress rehearsal was last week, not only for the players on the field, with that win, but certainly for what we do,” said Jimmy Johnson
Johnson coordinates UT game day safety operations.
For him, the focus will not be the teams on the gridiron, but the fans in the stands and everything around DKR. "We have a variety of ways and means that we do, to try to keep our fans safe, everything from the way we control access to the stadium, to barricades and enhancements to make a pedestrian friendly zone, to ways we provide multi-layers of law enforcement personnel to keep out those threats and do that mitigation,” said Johnson.
UT has it's own version of the state emergency operations center. In a room, not far from the stadium, emergency coordinators from 26 different local, state and federal agencies will monitor video feeds. They will search for threats and coordinate the response.
Johnson said they are prepared for the worst case scenario. "We always are, we do threat mitigation daily we ensure that we have the most up to date information equipment and personnel trained to handle any situation that could happen,” said Johnson.
During the opener last week there were seven heat-related incidents. With another hot forecast set for the weekend first responders are also ramping up a strategy, which is typically used during special events like music festivals, is part of the campus game-plan by Austin/Travis County EMS. 17 first responders are being staged in and around the stadium.
The ems motorcycle unit will be a key player, game changers, according to Commander Kevin Parker. "They really are, they help us move around a lot easier, and get that care to the patient's side that much quicker,” said Parker.
Tailgating for some fans started early Friday. Long hot days, mixed with alcohol, which is why commander parker says important for fans to recognize the signs of heat stroke. "If they stopped sweating, of if they are just really, really, beet red, or they are more lethargic, those sorts of things that indicate heat has gotten to them. First step is always water before you get out here and also during the event throughout the event,” said Parker.
Preventing a game-day emergency, Parker said, also involves staying in the shade, as much as possible, and using sun screen.