COLLEGE STATION — Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) continues to stand ready at Ellington Field in Houston for deployment to Haiti. The 80-member team will be bringing 50 tons of rescue equipment and supplies, all of which were carefully loaded on specialized pallets for deployment aboard military aircraft. TX-TF1 maintains the equipment in a constant state of readiness at its headquarters in College Station. The equipment is pre-packaged and loaded onto pallets according to military guidelines.
The team has been on standby at Ellington Field since Thursday morning. The deployment to Haiti would mark the first international deployment of the task force and would be the 76th time the team has been mobilized for search and rescue operations.
While the 80-person structural collapse team continues to stand ready to deploy by aircraft in Houston, another group of TX-TF1 responders have been demobilized. The boat and helicopter rescue squads were mobilized on Wednesday for potential flooding across central Texas. In anticipation of potential flooding predicted by the National Weather Service on Thursday and Friday of this week, the water rescue boat teams and helicopter rescue specialists were staged in San Antonio, Austin, and College Station.
This afternoon the potential for flooding across central Texas diminished and the teams have been demobilized by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. San Antonio had four TX-TF1 water boat teams and two helicopter rescue teams staged. Austin had two water boat teams and two helicopter rescue teams staged. College Station had two water boat teams staged.
The TX-TF1 helicopter rescue teams are a combination of Texas Military Forces UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters with two TX-TF1 helicopter rescue specialists working aboard the aircraft in coordination with the aircrew. The TX-TF1 water rescue squads consist of a five-person team that includes a swiftwater rescue boat, boat trailer, truck, specialized water rescue equipment and interoperable communications equipment.
Since 1998, TX-TF1 has used the unique facilities at Disaster City® as its primary training and testing area for large-scale incidents. Located in College Station, Texas, this 52-acre mock city, includes numerous full-scale collapsed buildings and has trained search and rescue teams from across the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
About Texas Task Force 1
Texas Task Force 1 is sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and is comprised of more than 450 personnel representing more than 60 jurisdictions and agencies from across the state of Texas, and is one of 28 teams in the FEMA national urban search and rescue system. Texas Task Force 1 and TEEX coordinate statewide requests for search and rescue.
About the Texas Engineering Extension Service
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized, first-responder training, homeland security exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond. TEEX programs include fire services, homeland security, law enforcement, public works, safety and health, search and rescue, and economic development.