Thirty-seven members of Texas Task Force 1 recently held a two-day skill set training session in winter wide area search at Fort Hood in Killeen, TX.
“It was the first time the team had the opportunity to train at Fort Hood, and we got some great search skill set training,” said Jim Yeager, Search Team Manager with Texas Task Force 1. “The cold, wet weather provided a chance to test our search and rescue personnel, our dogs and our equipment for deployment on a winter wide area search operation.
“We are grateful to the U.S. Army for allowing us to conduct training on the military base and to use their MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Environments) facilities,” Yeager added. “This was an ideal location for a wide area search exercise, and it was valuable for the team to train in an unfamiliar setting that provides realistic challenges that we might face on an actual deployment. It also allowed us to see how well our search and rescue dogs perform in an unfamiliar environment.”
“Texas A&M has had a long running partnership with joint operations at Fort Hood,” said Christopher Zimmer, Deputy Director of Emergency Services at Fort Hood. “This latest event offered us an opportunity to assist a different agency at Texas A&M all in the name of helping state agencies maintain their readiness.”
During the February training, the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET) supported the TX-TF1 search team, which included 11 search and rescue canines. Fourth-year veterinary students assisted with physical exams of the canines and played the roles of disaster survivors for the canines to find.
About Texas Task Force 1
TX-TF1 is sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX, and has deployed over 90 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 urban search and rescue teams.
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 a five-hour window. The task force consists of three separate units of approximately 80 members each. The teams rotate on a monthly standby, stand down or on call status.
Texas Task Force 1 Website: www.texastaskforce1.org/