AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry has approved the deployment of Texas Task Force 1, the state’s elite urban search and rescue team, in preparation of Hurricane Ivan’s landfall along the Gulf Coast.
Texas Task Force 1, one of 28 teams in the national urban search and rescue system under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will provide needed assistance with rescue and recovery efforts in the hurricane’s aftermath.
“Texas stands ready to help in any way communities impacted by Hurricane Ivan, which has already proven deadly,” Perry said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose homes and businesses lie in Ivan’s path.”
In addition, the Texas State Guard is providing support for 27 shelters available in Chambers, Harris, Harrison, Jefferson, Lamar, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Orange, Smith and Walker counties to provide temporary shelters to those fleeing the hurricane.
Texas Task Force 1 is capable of responding to mass-casualty disasters and is trained and equipped to locate and rescue victims trapped by flooding, collapsed structures and confined spaces in highly populated areas. Texas has additional search and rescue teams on standby in the event of any emergency situations in Texas, as well as to provide mutual assistance if requested.
Task Force members have been on alert the past several weeks to provide assistance to victims of former Hurricanes Charley and Frances. The team is armed with a more than $2 million state-of-the-art equipment cache and is designed to be logistically self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of operation. The Task Force is able to function for up to 10 days. Texas Task Force 1 has responded to severe flooding in several areas throughout Texas as well as 2001 Tropical Storm Allison that hit Houston in 2001.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of The Texas A&M University System, serves as a sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1.