TX-TF1 Prepares for Yet Another Storm

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

As Hurricane Ike eyes Texas, the state prepares for yet another storm.

The last two months have busy for first responders, as storm after storm heads toward the Gulf.

Roll up, check-in, and wait.

It's a scenario members of Texas Task Force 1 have become used to, hustling to get ready and then waiting for assignments.

"It's been a busy storm season, so the guys are constantly ready to go," Tony Tortorice with Texas Task Force 1 said.

In the past seven weeks, TX-TF1 has been deployed five times.

It all began with Hurricane Dolly on July 21st. The Category two storm flooded a large portion of South Texas, keeping first responders busy and away from home for a week.

Then just eight days later, the call came in once again.

"The deployment for Edouard, I was in New York and had to catch a flight to come home after they called us," Task Force member Carla Collins said.

It was a short-lived mission. The first responders were home the very next day, but not for long.

Two weeks later, flood waters rock Wichita County and once again TX-TF1 is there to help.

"One just seems to roll into the next, almost once one clears, you come back and start preparing, knowing there's another one coming," Tortorice said.

And there was. Just ten days after returning from floodwaters in North Texas, Tony Tortorice is called for duty once again. This time for Hurricane Gustav.

This is the fourth mission in a row for some Task Force members.

"You know, your kids and your family have to support you as well because they're making a commitment too, and they have to sacrifice when you leave at a moment's notice to come out to be deployed," Collins said.

Now just six days off of their latest mission, TX-TF1 is back in College Station once again with another Hurricane looming.

It's tiring both mentally and physically to do these things, but the men, women and canines of TX-TF1 are very highly trained.

A highly trained group that has learned what it means to rest whenever and wherever you can. Because in a moments notice...

"When our fellow neighbors in close counties, even our neighboring states, they need help that's where we go," Tortorice said.

This deployment marks the 13th for the year, putting it just three away from breaking last year's record of 15 deployments for a year.

Members of TX-TF1 will be spending Tuesday night in College Station while they wait for assignments on where to stage in preparation for Ike.


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