COLLEGE STATION — Urban search and rescue team Texas Task Force 1 has been activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in preparation for Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Gulf Coast within the next few days.
Texas Task Force 1 will deploy a full 70-member Type I urban search and rescue team and an additional 10 support personnel. The Type I team is capable of responding to major disaster events, including structural collapses, flooding and general rescue operations.
Task Force members will arrive in College Station Saturday afternoon for processing and will immediately depart for an undisclosed inland staging location along the Gulf Coast. The inland location will allow Texas Task Force 1 to quickly respond to some of the hardest-hit areas along the Gulf Coast.
The Katrina activation marks Texas Task Force 1’s third hurricane deployment this season. FEMA deployed a smaller Type III team from Texas in advance of Hurricane Dennis, then the Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management deployed a water rescue team from Texas Task Force 1 in advance of Hurricane Emily, both in July.
Last September, Texas Task Force 1 responded to Hurricane Ivan’s aftermath along the Alabama Gulf Coast and spent four days searching and clearing more than 500 structures.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) serves as the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1, which is one of 28 teams in the national urban search and rescue system under FEMA. Additional Texas Task Force 1 equipment and personnel are on standby should they be needed in response to Katrina or any other emergencies within the state of Texas.
Texas Task Force 1, which consists of more than 200 members from 60 organizations across Texas, also serves as the state’s search and rescue team under direction of the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management.
Texas Task Force 1 is capable of responding to mass casualty disasters and is trained and equipped to locate and extricate victims trapped by flooding, collapsed structures and confined spaces in highly populated areas. The team is designed to be logistically self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of operation and is able to function for up to 10 days.
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond. TEEX programs include fire, homeland security, law enforcement, public works, safety and health, search and rescue and technology transfer.