Hurricane season has task force preparing for 'next Harvey'

Posted at 11:21 AM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 15:00:24-04

The start of hurricane season has the men and women of Texas Task Force 1 ready to take on the storms.

The force, which operates under The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, has been training months ahead of the 2018 hurricane season that began June 1.

The task force took part in a helicopter-based exercise in Austin that was designed to help improve communication and coordination between the various response agencies while working with the Texas Military Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and more than 20 other state and federal agencies.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said Texas Task Force 1 members demonstrated why they are considered the country’s premiere search and rescue team last month when they participated in the largest aerial search and rescue exercise in the history of the United States.

The recent day-and-night exercise, which was dubbed “The SAREX 2018,” included 21 aviation assets and 200 participants representing 31 different agencies. The group conducted 67 missions with more than 80 hours of flight time and made 122 hoist rescues of more than 200 simulated victims.

“Texas Task Force 1 and the folks that work with Texas Task Force 1 are indeed the best in the country,” Chancellor Sharp said.

Texas Task Force 1 functions as one of the 28 federal teams under the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue System and as a statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Texas Task Force 1 also coordinates the state's swiftwater rescue program.

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