9/12/2007 12:00 AM
Texas Task Force 1 to coordinate state’s search and rescue efforts
With Tropical Storm Humberto just off the Texas coast and expected to drop significant rainfall during the next two days, Texas Task Force 1 has responded to a request by the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management to coordinate the state’s multi-agency search and rescue response.
TX-TF1 will lead the unified command element that includes the Texas Forest Service, Texas Military Forces, General Land Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The response will include ground forces and six swiftwater strike teams being staged in Houston, as well seven Texas Military Forces helicopters.
Predicted strength of Tropical Storm Humberto
The National Weather Service expects Humberto to make landfall around 8 p.m. tonight between Freeport and Galveston. NWS forecasters say the coast and areas of East Texas are expected to receive 5-10 inches of rainfall, with some areas predicted to receive in excess of 15 inches.
Magnitude of Texas A&M University System response
Two member agencies of the Texas A&M University System — the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the Texas Forest Service (TFS) — are heavily involved in preparation for, and response to, Tropical Storm Humberto. TEEX is the sponsoring agency for Texas Task Force 1.
TFS is deploying to Houston its Lone Star State Incident Management Team, which includes aviation and plans functions, along with assisting possible evacuations of large, critical facilities in the wake of Humberto.
About Texas Task Force 1
Sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX, Texas Task Force 1 is a state and federal urban search and rescue team comprised of more than 300 personnel representing more than 60 jurisdictions and agencies from across the state of Texas. Texas Task Force 1, which also coordinates statewide requests for swiftwater rescue, most recently deployed for Texas Hill Country flooding, Tropical Storm Erin and Hurricane Dean. In 2005, Texas Task Force 1 assisted with rescuing more than 13,000 New Orleans residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
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 solutions.
About the Lone Star State Incident Management Team
Administered by Texas Forest Service, the Lone Star State IMT is a group of specialists always available for deployment to any disaster in Texas and around the nation. The team was called on to assist in the aftermath of both Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005 and in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia ground and air search recovery effort. Earlier this summer, the LSSIMT responded to flooding in Central and South Texas, the tornado that struck Eagle Pass and was at the ready for deployment during the threat of Hurricane Dean.
Jay G. Socol
Texas Engineering Extension Service