Texas Task Force 1, the state’s Urban Search and Rescue team, has been accepted into the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The approval follows an extensive on-site readiness evaluation of TX TF-1 by FEMA representatives in March, which TEEX passed with a very high score, said Tim Gallagher, Director of Emergency Response for TX TF-1.
TX TF-1 was found to be “qualified, capable, and operationally ready to perform urban search and rescue missions within the State of Texas,” FEMA Director James L. Witt wrote in a letter of Congress. “ Texas Engineering Extension Service should be commended for meeting a mandate to provide a first-rate urban search and rescue response capability for the citizens of Texas.
“ Among many strengths, TX TF-1 enjoys outstanding support from the State of Texas and The Texas A&M University System,” Witt continued. “The Evaluation Team determined TX TF-1 to have all equipment items required by the US&R Task Force Equipment Cache List. Additionally, TX TF-1 maintains a separate stand-alone equipment cache dedicated to training task force personnel and local departments in heavy rescue techniques. The Task Force personnel roster exceeds minimum staffing levels required to meet national deployment standards and enjoys outstanding administrative and information systems support.”
Gallagher said: “We were held to the same strict standards that are used to evaluate the readiness of the existing National US&R Response System Task Forces, and we passed with flying colors. This is in large part because Kem Bennett made a commitment to the members of TX TF-1 and the citizens of Texas that he would do all in his power to secure the FEMA designation. He didn’t give up.”
TX TF-1 is the 28th task force to come under the national Urban Search and Rescue Response System.