COLLEGE STATION — FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) demobilized the Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) Water Mission Ready Package on Friday, Sept. 27, after its 19-day deployment to the Carolinas, where Hurricane Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast on Sept. 14, and dropped over 30 inches of rain in some coastal areas. It was the 150th deployment of TX-TF1.
Sixteen TX-TF1 members, along with water rescue equipment and boats, who deployed to North Carolina as part of a FEMA US&R Water Mission Ready Package, participated in water rescue and evacuation operations, and welfare checks in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Additionally, two TX-TF1 members were deployed to North Carolina as part of a FEMA US&R Incident Support Team (IST) and eight were deployed to support the FEMA US&R IST Central Cache. All have returned safely to Texas, with the exception of one member still deployed in South Carolina.
One Logistics Section Chief with TX-TF1 member also returned to Texas from a FEMA deployment for Hurricane Olivia in Hawaii.
While members were deployed on the East Coast and in Hawaii, other TX-TF1 members were activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to assist local responders during two separate weather events in Texas with potential for heavy rains and flash flooding. The team has demobilized from deployments to South Texas and the Gulf Coast region and South-Central Texas (Sept. 13), and to North and West Texas (Sept. 21). TX-TF1 members assisted local first responders in rescuing and evacuating over 60 people in Williamson County, on Sept. 22, when rising floodwaters trapped them at a wedding venue in Liberty Hill, Texas.
The Texas deployments included Water Rescue squads, Water Division Supervisors and Field Incident Technicians, as well as Helicopter Search & Recue Technicians (HSART) working with Texas Military Department hoist-capable helicopters. TX-TF1 also deployed Agency Liaison Officers to TDEM’s State Operations Center in Austin and an Emergency Operations Center in South Texas, as well as stood up the Search and Rescue Overhead Team in College Station.
“The TX-TF1 members were humbled and honored to support local responders and help those communities in need, and are thankful of the many hospitable and friendly hosts that gave them a place to sleep or fed them during the recent deployment,” said TX-TF1 PIO Stephen Bjune. “The team has returned to a normal state of readiness, and continues to train so we can respond at a moment’s notice.”
Special thanks go to Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., for supporting and caring for TX-TF1 members during their deployment to South Carolina. Watch the video.
About Texas Task Force 1
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of The Texas A&M University System. The Task Force is made up of more than 600 members from 60 organizations throughout Texas, and has deployed over 100 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack, and Hurricanes Harvey, 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.