Rescue Teams from across Country Respond to TX

Aug. 27, 2017
Sixteen USAR Task Forces have been dispatched to help with myriad of duties following Hurricane Harvey.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has activated over a dozen Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) task forces in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastation in Texas. There are a total of 27 USAR teams throughout the country.

Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF 1) was activated early last week as forecasters found that Harvey would cause extensive damage.

On Friday, USAR assets from Missouri (MO-TF 1), Ohio (OH-TF-1), Tennessee 1 (TN-TF 1) and Utah (UT-TF 1) were activated to assist in to south Texas.

Eighty members of TN-TF 1 left Memphis just after midnight and a 47-person Type III team from MO-TF departed with over 100,000 pounds of equipment.

All eight of California's Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces have been activated to respond to Texas.

Orange County County Fire Authorities make up CA-TF5 and the Type-III Urban Search and Rescue team was activated Friday.

Los Angeles City's CA-TF 1 and Oakland's CA-TF 4 deployed with 80 personnel each on Type-I State/National Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces. Forty-five members assigned to San Diego City's CA-TF 8 formed a Type-III State/National Urban Search and Rescue Task Force to respond to Texas.

"We anticipate they'll be doing slow-moving water rescues, flood rescues, from boats," San Diego Assistant Fire Chief Chris Webber said.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr approved the deployments of Water Rescue Mission Ready Packages from CA-TF 2 (Los Angeles County), 3 (Menlo Park Fire District), 6 (Riverside City Fire Department and 7 (Sacramento City Fire Department) Sunday.

Those packages include: a Water Rescue Team Manager, two Water Rescue Squad Officers, two Boat Operators, six Water Rescue Specialists, one Logistics Specialists and two US&R Medical Specialists.

Their equipment includes inflatable and hard-bottom rescue boats and four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks.

New York Task Force 1, comprised of FDNY and NYPD members, set out to respond to a staging point in San Antonio early Sunday.

"We are set up for all types of rescues, including swiftwater rescue, said FDNY Battalion Chief and NY-TF 1 Task Force Leader Jack Flatley. "We have a compilation of tools that include boats, motors, dry suits, rescue equipment for collapsed structures, rope equipment for confined spaces, and a large compilation of Haz-Mat equipment and tools. We're also supplied with a large, self-sufficient cache of food and supplies that make us sustainable for up to 72 hours in a row. I believe we're ready to face any danger."

"We are trained to save lives before patients are extricated from natural or man-made disasters. Our role in Texas is to provide medical care, to take care of civilians and the task force members," FDNY Rescue Paramedic Silvana Uzcategui said. "We're in the disaster zone. We're expecting torrential rains, winds, floods, and chaotic conditions. We're ready for it."

A 45-person team from Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA-TF 1) was ordered to stage in Fort Worth Sunday.

“The images coming out of Texas are heartbreaking and difficult to imagine,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “We know that this will be a long-term response and recovery effort, and Pennsylvania stands ready to provide whatever help we can to citizens and first responders in Texas or any other state impacted by the storm."

Fairfax County, VA, Fire Rescue Department will send a 14-person team with water rescue equipment as part of VA-TF 1.

A 14-person National Incident Support Team from California moved was sent out Friday.

Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) Resources 

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!