COLLEGE STATION – The Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) — Type 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team has been deactivated after four days of wide area search operations along the Blanco River, which flooded over Memorial Day weekend. The team had been activated and was on standby since May 11 before being assigned by the Texas Division of Emergency Management on May 24 at the request of officials in Wimberley.
The 70 -member team, which included 8 search and rescue canines, has diligently searched destroyed structures, stranded cars and debris piles along more than 50 miles of the Blanco River in conjunction with its state response partners. The team returned to College Station for out processing and was released to return home.
TX-TF1 water rescue boat squads remain activated since May 8 and staged at key locations across the state, as weekend weather forecasts call for additional rainfall and severe weather. Through the Task Force’s partnership with Texas Military Forces, Helicopter Search and Rescue Technicians (HSARTs) are still activated and staged across the flood-prone areas of the state.
During severe weather over the past three weeks, more than 100 victims trapped by rising floodwaters have been rescued by TX-TF1 water rescue boat squads and HSARTs, who work with Texas Military Forces on Search and Rescue helicopters.
Texas Task Force 2 —Type 3 Urban Search and Rescue Team has been assigned by the State to continue wide area search operations.
TX-TF1 Director Jeff Saunders emphasized the coordination and cooperation of the many organizations involved in response to the widespread flooding events across the state. TX-TF1 was supported by the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) and continues to work closely with Texas Military Forces, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as well as the Civil Air Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety.
He reminds citizens to remain vigilant and track weather reports, heed evacuation decrees and always “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
Who is TX-TF1?
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and has deployed over 90 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy; Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack; the explosion in West, TX; Moore, OK, tornado; and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. TX-TF1 can be activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management or as one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 28 sanctioned urban search and rescue teams.
Members of TX-TF1 range from firefighters and medical personnel, to structural engineers, and respond from jurisdictions within a 4-hour travel time from College Station. The Task Force consists of three separate teams of 70 members each, and these teams rotate on a monthly basis.
TX-TF1 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/txtf1