COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) Texas Task Force 1 and Texas Task Force 2 completed demobilization today after 14 days of search and rescue and have released the following statement:
Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) and Texas Task Force 2 (TX-TF2) completed demobilization today after 14 days of search and rescue, evacuation and other life-safety operations across the state during one of the largest natural disaster events in history. Harvey entered the Texas Coast as a category 4 hurricane and then became a major tropical storm, dropping a record-breaking 51.88 inches of rain on the state, making it the largest single rain event in U.S. history.
The 248 TX-TF1 team members and seven canines, along with 79 TX-TF2 members and four canines, have completed their mission and returned to their families. The teams were activated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) on Aug. 24 and deployed across the Gulf Coast as the storm moved from Rockport and Corpus Christi to Houston and Galveston to Beaumont and Port Arthur before moving out of Texas, leaving flooded rivers, creeks and reservoirs behind.
TX-TF1 and TX-TF2, working with over 1,400 responders from other state and federal partners, and teams and resources from across the nation, conducted rescues or evacuations of over 50,000 Texans and 1,900 pets since Hurricane Harvey made landfall at Rockport on Aug. 25.
The state and federal response to the disaster was unprecedented, said Texas Task Force 1 Director Jeff Saunders. A historic number of response partners engaged to support Texans, including the Texas Military Department and State Guard with high-profile vehicles and helicopters, which were teamed with water rescue swimmers from TX-TF1, he added.
Emergency responders and water rescue teams came from nearly every state, and even Puerto Rico and the Cherokee Nation, as well as from all branches of emergency services and the U.S. military. They supported and worked alongside local emergency personnel throughout the disaster.
Sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), TX-TF1 was fully deployed with Urban Search & Rescue (US&R), water rescue, and helicopter rescue resources. Federal assets included 14 FEMA US&R task forces, 13 FEMA US&R Water Mission Ready Packages, 6 HEPPs (Hazardous Equipment Push Packages), the Blue Incident Support Team (IST) and Central IST Cache. In addition, 20 TIFMAS (Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System) water rescue teams, and many out-of-state water teams responded to help Texas during this historic flooding event.
TX-TF1 and TEEX personnel also deployed to TDEM’s State Operations Center and to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Emergency Operations Centers as Liaison Officers for the response teams. These personnel also supported the Texas Aviation Operations Center, the Joint Air-Ground Coordination Team, and the Texas State Search & Rescue Overhead Team.