KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | Weather Forecast & Radar

Texas Task Force 1 Deploys for Isaac

By: Clay Falls and Steve Fullhart Email
By: Clay Falls and Steve Fullhart Email

What is Texas Task Force 1?

TX-TF1 is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Texas and is sponsored by the state. It consists of a Type I and a Type III Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team as well as a Water Rescue Task Force. TX-TF1 members are prepared to respond to mass casualty disasters and are trained and equipped to locate and extricate victims trapped in collapsed structures, confined spaces and trenches in highly populated areas. The Task Force is capable of responding to state and national disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, widespread tornadoes, floods, and man-made technological and terrorist events.

- TXTF-1 Website

*12:30 P.M. Tuesday Update*

The State's elite search and rescue group loaded up bound for Louisiana early Tuesday morning as a potential hurricane looms in the Gulf.

News 3 has exclusive video of the team as they deployed at the request of FEMA.

Packing and preparing carried a sense of urgency in College Station Tuesday morning.

80 members from Texas Task Force 1 are on high alert headed to Louisiana as Isaac is expected to make landfall as a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday

"We're the only task force being deployed at this time," said Jeff Saunders, the Operations Chief for Texas Task Force 1.

"Our main objective is to stage on the clean side of the storm in Louisiana to be ready for when the state of Louisiana asks for resources," he said.

Those resources include boats for moving about potentially flooded areas and even rescuing stranded residents.

Four urban search and rescue dogs and their trainers are headed east too.

While we don't know exactly where the team is headed we do know their deployment could last as long as 10 to even 14 days.

Task Force Deputy Operations Chief Chuck Jones is preparing for up to 24 hours of intense rain with widespread flooding should the storm hit where they're headed.

"We'll basically ride out the storm at that location until we can get to the winds to die down low enough so that we can get our high profile vehicles out," said Jones.

"We're happy to be serving the United States and the citizens of Louisiana at this time," added Jeff Saunders.

A high honor of service for a select few chosen to serve as some of Texas' best firefighters, emergency responders, engineers and search experts.

The task force consists of three 80 member teams and only the blue team is being deployed at this time.

The task force has also responded to emergencies including the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster.

Their last weather-related deployment was Hurricane Alex in 2010.

*Previous Story*
With Isaac due to arrive on the Gulf Coast, Texas' elite search and rescue group is ready to assist.

Around 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, Texas Task Force 1, based out of Texas A&M, deployed to a pre-staging location in Louisiana not being identified.

From there, the group will await further orders based on where the hurricane impacts the coast.

"We're the only task force being deployed at this time. Our main objective is to stage on the clean side of the storm in Louisiana to be ready for when the State of Louisiana asks for additional resources," said Jeff Saunders, Texas Task Force 1 Operations Chief.

As of right now, Isaac is due to make landfall Tuesday evening along the coast of Louisiana. It comes seven years since Hurricane Katrina devastated that state and others.

- KBTX's Isaac Blog

First responders from across the state are part of TXTF-1, which has assisted with the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, along with disasters like September 11 and the Space Shuttle Columbia incident. TXTF-1 is one of 28 FEMA-coordinated urban search and rescue groups in the country.

Task Force members come from dozens of organizations across the state and can be in College Station within hours of a deployment call.

In 2011, notable deployments by the group included the Bastrop County fires and the Joplin, Missouri tornado.

News 3 was the only media outlet at the deployment and will bring you more coverage throughout the day.


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