Last year was one of the busiest Hurricane seasons ever and this year might be just as bad or worse. But members of Texas Task Force 1 are now ready for the challenge, the team spent the weekend in College Station preparing for what just might be another record storm season.
"We try to do everything real time we try to do everything with the people that are supposed to be in the position doing their position," said Jeff Saunders, Texas Task Force 1.
Saunders says the weekends practice scenario at Disaster City was that a category four hurricane hit the Texas coast line. With the props set, the team of more than 200 emergency responders practiced search and rescue efforts.
"The particular wooden rubble pile was just like what they saw in the 9th Ward in New Orleans. It would have been just like the debris pile in Indonesia during the tsunami," said Saunders.
The training also required task force members to practice their skills in water.
"We had six water squads, which are six boat squads. We actually cleared a levy and evacuated that levy over a large body of water," said Saunders.
Members of Texas Task Force 1 have hurricane trainings every year, but after the devastation of Katrina and Rita, this weekends practice had a few additions.
"We've done additional training for wide area search and what we found at Katrina and Rita was we had a lot of personnel that aren't search personnel being involved," said Saunders.
So in addition to adding training exercises, the team also grew in number.
"We actually put 65 more people on the team. That's going to help us fill some of the positions that we were a little bit low on," he said.
In an emergency, Texas Task Force 1 members have to be capable of deploying within a four hour window. After this weekends training, Saunders says the team is fully prepared to meet that deadline and serve the the citizens of Texas and the US in the event another hurricane devastates our region.