BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Texas Task Force 1 was the first to team to arrive in Puerto Rico, other than the teams that were already on the island, after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Texas Task Force 1 doesn't usually travel outside of the continental US, but because it is a US territory they wanted to send as much response as possible. Twenty-seven people and supplies were deployed to the island last week.
One of the of those taking the trip was Dr. Kory Gill. Gill works at The Central Texas Sports Medicine & Orthopedics, P.A. in Bryan. He has been training for the task force for a year and a half and this was his first time being in the field.
Members of the task force say the biggest challenges were no power or phone service on the island. The team had satellite phones that become a sole source of communication for getting information back to the continental US and residents in touch with their family members.
"Even the hospitals and major facilities didn't have communication. We would make in person visits to these facilities, assess what they had what they needed, and then go back and try and get what they needed," said Kory Gill, the medical team manager.
"A lot of the houses were destroyed or had major damage to them. A lot of the infrastructure was all down. They had no water, no electricity, there was no cell phone, no land line so communication was very difficult," said Chuck Jones, the task force leader.
Texas Task Force 1 was in Puerto Rico for five days.