9/13/2008 12:00 AM
Texas Task Force 1 and other search and rescue assets busily completed missions Friday ahead of Hurricane Ike making landfall.
A command element of the task force coordinated the safe removal of 519 special-needs patients Thursday from the Beaumont area - 403 of them by air and 116 by ground.
Then around 2:30 a.m. Friday, TX-TF1 answered a call for service from officials with The Medical Center of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur, which needed patients evacuated from their hospital. Task force personnel moved 70 patients - 10 of whom were adult critical care and 10 of whom were neonatal critical care - to safety via ground and air. All operations were completed by 7 a.m.
Many pre-landfall search and rescue requests were received and the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX, has coordinated state and federal resources, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, to meet those needs. USCG and TX-TF1 teamed on Friday to perform nearly 100 rescues in the Bolivar Peninsula area.
Success with these missions is credited to the continued coordination among local, state and federal entities.
Restoration of infrastructure
The TEEX-coordinated Public Works Response Team, or PWRT, is the state's newest asset in terms of community reentry and recovery. Public works officials from across the state are on standby to assist communities in restoring power, water, wastewater and other critical infrastructure as quickly as possible.