The Austin Fire Department, along with other first responders and public officials in the area have participated in multiple ASTI training programs in Israel. So in March, 2018, when Anthony Stephan House opened a package left outside of his door and unknowingly detonated a bomb, Austin first responders were prepared.

At the time, police believed it to be an isolated incident, but ten days later, and on the first day of the annual SXSW festival, police received word of a second package exploding at a residence in the northeast section of the city. Seventeen-year-old Draylen Mason was dead and his mother was critically injured.

For the next 19 days, residents in the city of Austin were fearful. During that time, the Austin Police Department, The FBI, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Austin Fire Department came together to respond to other explosions throughout the city and in the end, the serial bomber killed two people and wounded five others in Texas.

A few years before the serial bomber began to strike, the Austin Fire Department, along with other first responders and public officials from the Austin area began to participate in ASTI training programs in Israel.

At the training, the participants learned first-hand how communities dealt with terror attacks. They immersed themselves in conversations with industry experts – hospitals, law enforcement, bomb squads, military, intelligence officers, firefighters, religious leaders and local business owners, who shared perspective about their experiences.

The training also offered participants the ability to perform exercises based on real-world scenarios, to see how they could better adapt in case of an attack back home.

Captain Mathew Rush of the Austin Fire Department shared that the ASTI training program has inspired Austin Homeland security professionals to integrate emergency services with federal agencies, intelligence services, civic leaders and the community at-large and the “close knit collaboration ensured they could respond, protect and recover as more bombs were detonated,” across Austin.

The training participants credit ASTI with providing them numerous resources and strategies that helped to address the situation in Austin quickly and effectively.

Learn more about integrated training options with ASTI.