Texas Task Force 1 & 2 head to Indiana for intensive training

Published: Mar. 5, 2018 at 5:36 PM CST
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Six months after Hurricane Harvey and Texas Task Force 1 is still training and preparing for disasters.

Last weekend, TX-TF1 packed up and headed to Indiana for one of the most intense training the crew has seen, the FEMA Operational Readiness Exercise.

"It gave our guys an opportunity to go somewhere where they're not used to operating while doing the same business that we do," said TX-TF1 Training Manager Stephen Bjune.

The weekend-long training took place at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center located in South Indiana.

"It's a former mental hospital for the state of Indiana that the military has taken over and uses as a training site. They do structural collapse training very similar to like what TEEX does at Disaster City. Just with more buildings in a little different state," said Bjune.

They based their exercise on previous disastersn like Hurricane Harvey.

"Every year our training get more complicated, but this year we based it off of high water, severe weather flooding. A lot of people missing, collapsed buildings, and a lot of houses destroyed," said Bjune.

The last two years, the team went to Fort Hood. This year's training was one of the toughest according to Matt Young, a Search and Rescue K9 specialist.

"It was hard, but it was helpful in a couple of different ways. We actually got to go to a different place, which we never get to do. Plus, we never really get to train as a whole group or as a full team, which is crucial and helpful because we get to bond and get to know each other," said Young.

TX-TF1 had to pack up everything, which Young said was one of the most difficult parts of the training.

"Just moving all of our stuff from one place to another, I mean, just moving all of our guys from one place to another, is exceedingly difficult. When you add a plane and driving and having to set it all up and take it all down, it's a lot, " said Young.

Although it was one of the toughest training they've been through, crews feel confident they'll be ready when the next disaster hits.

"It was tough, but this is why we succeed and it's that kind of training that makes us able to go so fast because TX-TF1 and TX-TF2 both have to respond so quickly when disaster strikes," said Bjune.

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