Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1), along with other response agencies, continues a wide area search today (5.26.2015) along a stretch of the Blanco River for victims of the Memorial Day weekend floods. The 70 -member team, which includes 8 canines, is searching structures and debris piles in the affected areas.
The Type 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team, which had already been activated earlier, was assigned by the Texas Division of Emergency Management on May 24 at the request of officials in Blanco, Hays and Caldwell counties. The Veterinary Emergency Team is also in the area to support TX-TF1 and to assist animals impacted by the flooding. Texas Task Force 2 —Type 3 Urban Search and Rescue Team has been activated to support operations when assigned by the State.
During severe weather in the past two weeks, more than 100 victims trapped by rising floodwaters have been rescued by TX-TF1 water rescue squads and rescue swimmers who work with Texas Military Forces on Search and Rescue helicopters.
TX-TF1 water rescue squads also responded late Monday to requests from Bastrop County following the failure of an earthen dam at Bastrop State Park Lake. Additional water rescue squads have been activated and stationed in Austin, San Antonio, Three Rivers, Huntsville, Lufkin, College Station, Dallas, Denton County and Wichita Falls. Through the Task Force’s partnership with Texas Military Forces, thirteen Helicopter Search and Rescue Teams (HSARTs) are stationed in Austin, Grand Prairie, Houston, San Antonio, Victoria and College Station.
TX-TF1 Director Jeff Saunders emphasizes that residents of flood-prone areas should remain vigilant and track weather reports, heed evacuation decrees and never drive through flooded roadways — Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
Who is TX-TF1?
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and has deployed over 90 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy; Sept. 11th World Trade Center attack; the explosion in West, TX; Moore, OK, tornado; 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.
Members of TX-TF1 range from firefighters and medical personnel, to structural engineers, and respond from jurisdictions within a 4-hour travel time from College Station. The Task Force consists of three separate teams of 70 members each, and these teams rotate on a monthly basis.