COLLEGE STATION – Tropical Storm Harvey has reduced in wind speed and intensity, with 50 mph sustained winds, but life-threating rainfall is still expected over a large area of the Texas coast. Given the size of the impact area and the continued potential for significant rain and flood damage to a number of Texas counties, several search and rescue teams have begun operations in the region.
At 6 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) activated Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R), water rescue, and helicopter rescue resources to respond to then Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, Texas Task Force 2 (TX-TF2) and FEMA US&R teams were activated and positioned in several locations throughout Texas.
Once extreme storm conditions subsided, TX-TF1 personnel began assisting local personnel with response efforts. TX-TF1 and TX-TF2 have begun operations in the Corpus Christi and Houston areas.
TX-TF1 partners with the Texas Military Department to form helicopter search and rescue teams. These teams provide task force rescue swimmers who have expertise in aerial swiftwater and flood rescue. A major asset to the affected areas are the companies of soldiers operating high profile vehicles to evacuate survivors from flooded areas.
TX-TF1 and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service personnel are also deployed to TDEM’s State Operations Center (SOC), and to Texas DPS Emergency Operations Centers as Liaison Officers for the response teams, with additional personnel on alert to support impacted regions. These personnel are also supporting the Texas Aviation Operations Center, the Joint Air-Ground Coordination Team, and the Texas State Search and Rescue Overhead Team.
Although weather conditions have allowed search and rescue operations to begin, this is an ongoing event. Search and rescue teams will be active in the coastal areas for several days.
About Texas Task Force 1
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the TEEX and has deployed over 100 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack, 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.
Visit the Texas Task Force 1 Website for more information. Find Deployment Briefs of previous deployments