Officials from the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the London Fire Brigade signed an affiliation agreement April 1, allowing the London Fire Brigade to easily schedule training with TEEX.
Texas A&M University System Vice-Chancellor for Engineering Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, TEEX Director Gary Sera, Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) Director Bob McKee and group managers for the London Fire Brigade Richard Binder and Greg Hearne all signed the agreement.
“We have been trying to make this happen for the last two and a half years,” Binder said. “We are building for the future and we want this agreement to be the blocks we use to do the building.”
The London Fire Brigade currently trains with TEEX’s Urban Search and Rescue Division, but this agreement could open avenues for other disciplines of training within the agency.
The agreement will also allow TX-TF1 and the London Fire Brigade to share information from future deployments with each other. Representatives from the London Fire Brigade accompanied TX-TF1 on its deployments to Hurricanes Rita and Dean to observe procedures, policies and practices.
“We have already learned so much from the people at TEEX,” Binder said. “This agreement will allow us to learn from Texas Task Force 1 and them to learn from us.”
TX-TF1 uses the 52-acre Disaster City® as its training ground and trains other urban search and rescue personnel from around the world at the facility.
“When we first came up with the concept of Disaster City®, we dreamed it would be a place to train responders not only from Texas, but from all over the world,” Bennett said. “This agreement sends a message around the world that when it comes to life and safety, there are no borders.”