Texas A&M Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) received a perfect score of 100 on its 2023 Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) Task Force Administration Readiness Evaluation (ARE) that was recently completed. This marks the first time that any of FEMA’s 28 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams has earned a perfect score since the agency began the task force evaluations in 2010.
The ARE is an evaluation that examines each team’s compliance in three areas: 1) Operational Readiness, which reviews personnel qualifications and the training regimen for the team; 2) Logistics Readiness, which ensures that each team has the required facilities, transportation, equipment and materials for deployment; and 3) Management Readiness, which verifies that the team is fulfilling the requirements of the FEMA US&R System Cooperative Agreement performance requirements in relation to staffing, reporting, financial processes, policies and procedures.
All 28 teams submit a self-assessment annually, and every three years an assessment team consisting of FEMA staff and peer US&R task force members from other states conduct an in-person evaluation of each team over two days to ensure the self-assessments are accurate. TX-TF1’s in-person evaluation took place December 5 – 6, 2023, at its facilities in College Station.
“All of our universities and agencies strive for straight A’s every day, but Texas A&M Task Force 1 outdid itself with its perfect score,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “I have the utmost respect for the team members who put their lives on the line to rescue their fellow Texans from fires, floods and other natural and human-caused disasters.”
“To say that I am very proud of the Texas A&M Task Force 1 team would be an understatement,” said TEEX Agency Director David Coatney. “The level of commitment, capability, training, logistics and preparation by the team members have all resulted in the highest level of readiness and achievement by our team. This is an impactful accomplishment that will benefit the communities that we serve.”
“On behalf of the FEMA US&R Branch, I want to congratulate all of the hard-working and dedicated personnel on TX-TF1 who helped achieve this excellent rating,” said Dean Scott, acting chief of the US&R Branch of FEMA’s Operations Division. “We appreciate the outstanding collaboration that the TX-TF1 administration provided throughout the evaluation process, as well as all of the contributions and support that TX-TF1 and TEEX have provided over the years to the FEMA US&R Response System.”
In addition to the TX-TF1 administrative staff, the team includes about 228 first responders from 134 participating agencies and organizations across the state, all of whom reside within three hours of College Station.
“Personnel from fire and rescue departments, emergency medical and health services, and other emergency agencies and specialty companies across Texas have provided the experts to be part of TX-TF1,” said Jeff Saunders, TX-TF1 director. “They have full-time positions in their own organizations but are dedicated to mobilizing with TX-TF1 on a moment’s notice. Without them, this achievement would not be possible.”
TX-TF1 functions as one of the 28 federal task forces under the FEMA National US&R System and as a statewide urban search and rescue team under the direction of the Governor through the Texas Division of Emergency Management. TX-TF1 also coordinates the state’s swift water rescue program and the helicopter search and rescue team which works in conjunction with Texas Military Department. Since its inception in 1997, TX-TF1 has been on more than 180 deployments, including 11 deployments in 2023.
For more information about Texas A&M Task Force 1, visit https://texastaskforce1.org/
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
Vita Vaughn | Director of Marketing and Communications/CMO