COLLEGE STATION – Current and past members of Texas Task Force 1, the state’s elite urban search and rescue team, will be honored at a Saturday evening (Oct. 20) ceremony celebrating the team’s 10th anniversary.
In 10 years, TX-TF1 has responded to disasters throughout Texas and beyond, including the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ??in 2005. Most recently, TX-TF1 responded to spring and summer flooding in the Texas Hill Country; in fact, the team’s 15 deployments in 2007 is the most in a single year since the group originated in 1997.
More than 300 are expected to attend the ceremony at the Annenberg Conference Center at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station. Of the attendees, about 75 original Task Force members will receive 10-year awards and pins. Keynote speaker will be Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M University, who, as founder, led the effort to establish an urban search and rescue task force for the state of Texas, while serving as Director of TEEX.
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service and coordinates all search and rescue and swiftwater deployments for the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management. The team, which is also one of 28 federal teams under FEMA, is comprised of more than 300 first responders representing more than 60 jurisdictions across the state of Texas.
History of Texas Task Force 1
Texas Task Force 1 was established in response to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. TEEX, as the primary agency responsible for coordinating urban search and rescue efforts under the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan, began planning for a possible state response to a similar event. In 1996, TEEX assembled an Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Board to discuss the creation of a Task Force and a Training Center for search and rescue. The first statewide Task Force of 124 members was selected and held its first organizational meeting on Feb. 14, 1997. Today, Texas Task Force 1 serves the state as well as the nation as one of 28 federal teams under FEMA, and boasts more than 300 highly trained members from 60 organizations throughout Texas and a $5 million equipment cache.
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.