FEMA selects task force to respond to WMD incidents

9/28/2001 12:00 AM

Texas Task Force One (TX-TF1), the statewide urban search and rescue team sponsored by TEEX, is one of six teams picked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to incidents involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

FEMA is providing TX-TF1 with about $300,000 in equipment for WMD response, said Tim Gallagher, director of emergency response and rescue. The equipment includes atmospheric detection devices, personal protective equipment, decontamination equipment and pharmaceuticals to treat exposure to chemical or biological agents, he added.

The equipment will be incorporated into the cache for TX-TF1, which is stored at the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Field in College Station.

In October, TEEX will host a FEMA “train-the-trainer” session for its new training program on WMD response. The training will be required of all TX-TF1 members to participate in a call-out for a WMD incident. Gallagher, who chairs the FEMA Training Committee, says the required training is part of “being prepared for working in a dangerous environment.”

“Our goal is to have all of our team members trained under the FEMA requirement by Jan. 1,” Gallagher said. TX-TF1 expects to be placed on alert for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in February 2002.

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