TX-TF1 conducts searches after tornado struck Polk & San Jacinto counties

TX-TF1 logo

COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) deployed a 35-member Type 3 Urban Search & Rescue team in response to severe weather that devastated communities in Polk and San Jacinto counties on the evening of April 22. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) called on the TX-TF1 to assist local and state response partners in conducting searches of the hard hit community. Numerous homes and structures were damaged or destroyed as a result of a large tornado near the East Texas city of Onalaska.

Texas Task Force 1 member surveys damage in Onalaska, Texas.
Texas A&M Task Force 1 member surveys damage in Onalaska, Texas.

The 35-person team, which includes 6 search canines and a large cache of technical search as well as rescue equipment, is closely following the CDC’s guidelines on responder safety. The safety of the public and of team members is of upmost importance to the Task Force and safety guidelines are being closely followed where possible, to include the use of social distancing, face masks, proper hygiene, and sanitation of surfaces. 

Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy and Gov. Greg Abbott issued a joint statement today: “Last night’s tornado caused significant damage and led to tragic loss of life within these communities, and our hearts continue to be with Texans affected by these devastating storms. The State of Texas and Polk County officials have been working closely together to ensure recovery resources are available and utilized within the communities ravaged by this tornado. We will continue to do all we can to give Polk County residents the support they need as they recover from this severe weather.”

Texas Task Force 1 members unload equipment.
Texas Task Force 1 members unload equipment to begin search operation.

As always, TX-TF1 reminds citizens to tune into your local media and news sources for up-to-date weather forecasts and reports for your area. Never drive through water across a roadway. Remember to Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

About Texas A&M Task Force 1

TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and has deployed over 150 times since 1997. The team can be activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management or as one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 28 sanctioned urban search and rescue teams.

For more information, please contact:

Stephen Bjune, TX-TF1 Public Information Officer
[email protected]
(979) 458-4957

Visit the Texas Task Force 1 Website: www.texastaskforce1.org/

Follow Texas Task Force 1 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/txtf1