With Tropical Storm Gustav presenting an imminent threat to the Gulf Coast, the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) has authorized Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) to forward deploy to strategic locations along the Texas coast.
Approximately 270 search and rescue (SAR) personnel arrived at TX-TF1 headquarters in College Station Sunday morning with initial plans to move to Houston by Sunday afternoon.
The following search and rescue assets are being deployed:
- TX-TF1 Type-I structural urban search and rescue team
- TX-TF1 Type-III hurricane/wide-area flood urban search and rescue team
- TX-TF2 (Dallas-based) Type-III hurricane/wide-area flood urban search and rescue team
- 10 water rescue teams
- 8 TX-TF1 helicopter rescue specialists to work aboard Texas Military Forces Blackhawk helicopters
- Numerous liaisons to assist at the State Operations Center in Austin and with Disaster District Chairs and counties along the Texas coast
Who’s activated for search and rescue ahead of Gustav?
Under the guidance of the GDEM, the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is coordinating the state’s urban search and rescue operations. TEEX’s own Texas Task Force 1 is among the state’s search and rescue assets, as is Dallas’ Texas Task Force 2. Others involved with search and rescue: Texas Parks & Wildlife, General Land Office, Texas Military Forces, Texas Forest Service, Civil Air Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Department of State Health Services. Additionally, federal urban search and rescue task forces and National Park Service boat crews are standing by.
In total, there are nearly 1,300 people — state and federal — dedicated to search and rescue for Hurricane Gustav.
Gustav is predicted to make landfall as a category-4 hurricane early Tuesday in a wide area ranging from South Texas to the Florida Panhandle.
United Kingdom responders to participate
Urban search and rescue specialists from the United Kingdom will join state and federal responders in the common mission of Hurricane Gustav. Members of the London Fire Brigade will be embedded in the command function of the deployment, while a six-person rescue squad from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service will forward deploy with other rescue assets.
TEEX and TX-TF1 have long-standing training and response relationships with the London and Merseyside departments, as well as formal agreements allowing additional training and professional development.
About Texas Task Force 1
Texas Task Force 1 is sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and is comprised of more than 400 personnel representing over 60 jurisdictions and agencies from across the state of Texas and is one of 28 teams in the national urban search and rescue system under FEMA. Texas Task Force 1 and TEEX coordinate state-wide requests for search and rescue. TEEX and the Task Force are headquartered in College Station.
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 development.
Jay G. Socol,
Media Relations Coordinator