Texas Task Force 1 Trains at Disaster City

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

Days after Texas Task Force 1 returned home from their search and rescue mission in West, they put on Hazmat gear and got ready to deploy on another mission. But luckily, it was just an exercise Saturday night.

"I think we do the good job that we do when we respond, because we train as hard as we train," said Jeff Saunders, Texas Task Force 1 Operations Manager.

Saturday, they trained to respond to a collapsed building involving radioactive materials and possible survivors.

"It took us about two months to build this prop, the rubble pile that we're working on right now," said Saunders.

Saunders says Texas Task Force 1 members usually have at least eight years of firefighting experience. The unpredictable nature of disasters is why members say it's crucial to practice different scenarios.

"It gives us a hands on experience," said James McNeely, Logistics Specialist with TTF1. "We get the tools out, we get the equipment out, we get to play with it hands on and see how its going to operate. And it just better prepares us from when we do have to use the equipment."

It also prepares them to work together. Officials say members of Texas Task Force 1 come from 68 different agencies in Texas.

McNeely is a College Station firefighter.

"The more training I get through the task force, the more I get to bring back to the city and protect the citizens," said McNeely.

A building collapse containing radioactive materials may sound like an extreme scenario, but staying ready for disasters is just part of the job for members of Texas Task Force 1.

Texas Task Force 1 is one of 28 FEMA teams in the US.

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