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  • Texas Task Force 1 meets Ivan once again, positions personnel, equipment

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry today authorized the reactivation of Texas Task Force 1 and the deployment of other state resources as Tropical Storm Ivan threatens the Texas coast.

A 31—member water rescue team is staged in College Station; a 12—member helicopter rescue unit is on stand—by in Austin, and 25 Texas Army National Guard vehicles and 60 soldiers are on stand—by in San Antonio. Another 10 Texas Army National Guard vehicles and 25 soldiers are on stand—by in the Houston — Galveston area.

“Texas stands ready to meet any threat that tropical storm Ivan may pose to our state,” Perry said. “As with any heavy rain event, Texans should take appropriate precautions to safeguard lives and property, avoid flooded roadways, and closely monitor conditions in their area.”

Thirty—one members of Texas Task Force 1 returned from the Alabama Gulf Coast on Monday after assisting with the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, which struck Alabama and Florida on Sept. 16 and reformed as a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico this week. The Task Force searched and cleared 576 houses and condominium structures over a four—day span.

As a tropical storm, Ivan is expected to produce winds in excess of 40 miles per hour along the upper Texas coast, as well as heavy rains and flooding. Texas Task Force 1 is trained in conducting flood—related rescues and equipped with the latest boats, communication devices and rescue apparatus. The helicopter rescue unit will work in conjunction with the Texas Army National Guard.

Texas Task Force 1 is one of 28 teams in the national urban search and rescue system, which is under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Task Force has responded to severe flooding in several areas throughout Texas as well as 2001 Tropical Storm Allison that hit Houston in 2001.

Texas Task Force 1 consists of 210 emergency response personnel from throughout the state who serve on one of three 70—member teams, each on a 30—day rotation.

The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of The Texas A&M University System, serves as the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1.

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Kathy Fraser

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