Killeen Fire explains how emergency declaration for eclipse helps the department

Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 22, 2024

BELL COUNTY, Texas — With an emergency declaration in place for the weekend of the eclipse, 25 News reporter Adam Schindler talked to the Bell County Judge that issued the declaration and went to the Killeen Fire Department to see how they are getting prepared.

”As you may be aware, we’ve been preparing and planning for the eclipse event for several months — probably a year out,” said Judge David Blackburn, Bell County Judge.

25 News asked him why he issued the emergency declaration.

”It positions us well for state assistance if and when that is needed,” Judge Blackburn said.

“We’ve already submitted to the state, requests for certain types of equipment and other assistance, and the declaration just helps facilitate that.”

Assistance that will directly help first responders like the Killeen Fire Department.

”The way emergency management works, is we request resources from the county who requests those resources from the state,” said Killeen Fire Chief, James Kubinski.

"This is the first step to being able to request any needed resources.”

Resources like extra manpower if they need it, because they expect the amount of people in the county to nearly double that weekend.

While speaking with the Chief, 25 News reporter Adam Schindler asked, ”What are the main things you expect to see? Is it more accidents, more medical calls, or others?”

”The focus that we are expecting is going to be on medical calls, because when you double that population, which is what we’re expecting, that means the calls for service for medical calls will most likely double as well,” Chief Kubinski said.

With the amount of victors coming to Bell County, it’s probably a good idea to go grocery shopping early and gas up you car before the weekend of the eclipse.

It would help keep the roads as clear as possible for first responders.

The Chief also had another recommendation.

”We know that everybody wants to celebrate this, what could be a once in a lifetime event,” Chief Kubinski said.

“We recommend that our residents here in Killeen stay home, enjoy it with your family, stay in your neighborhoods, stay off of the main roads.”

The Chief says the community can help them out by being prepared for the influx of people ahead of time and being patient with them while they prioritize the urgent calls first.