COLLEGE STATION, TX — The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has named Billy Parker as the new Director of Texas Task Force 1, the State’s elite Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team. Parker had been serving as the Interim Director since March.
Parker has had a 30-year career with TEEX and is widely recognized as a pioneer and expert in the field of urban search and rescue. He has been a driving force behind the team’s growth from a small advisory board in 1996 to the most called-upon statewide and national US&R team. He has led the Task Force in some capacity during many of their most significant deployments, including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
In 2006, Parker received the prestigious Regents Fellows Service Award from The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. The annual Regents Fellows award is the highest honor given by the Regents and recognizes senior-level professionals who have provided exemplary service not only to their university or agency, but also to the community, state, nation and world.
This weekend, Texas Task Force 1’s 80-member White Team will take part in a Full-Scale Exercise (FSE) at Disaster City in College Station, TX. The skills practiced in this exercise are common to disaster scenarios that the team may be asked to respond to in a real world environment.
Who is TX-TF1?
Members of TX-TF1 range from firefighters and medical personnel, to structural engineers, and come from all areas capable of reporting to College Station within five hours. These regions include the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas. TX-TF1 is sponsored by TEEX and has deployed over 80 times since 1997, including the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, Sept.11th World Trade Center attack, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. TX-TF1 can be activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management or as one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 28 sanctioned US&R teams.
About Disaster City
Disaster City is a large-scale urban environment capable of simulating a multitude of catastrophes. It includes rubble piles, collapsed buildings, train derailments and much more. It’s the largest and most comprehensive US&R training facility in the world and is part of TEEX’s Emergency Preparedness Campus.
Media Opportunities/Schedule of Events
Typically, the media do not have immediate access to areas where active search and rescue is occurring. This is your chance to see TX-TF1 in action and get an up-close look at what happens in a realistic rescue situation. Saturday, April 27, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., we can provide limited access to Disaster City for media.