Task Forces from all over the country are rushing to assist Texas emergency services in rescue efforts.

By Max Goldberg
August 27, 2017

It should be very clear by now that Hurricane Harvey is not a joke and a significant threat to Texas. Although the structure of the storm has changed from a category 4 Hurricane to a tropical depression, the amount of rain currently falling and expected to continue can cripple the lone star state. With 15 to 25 inches of rain expected to dump over Houston, urban search and rescue teams as well as various task forces have been deployed from throughout the country. 

As of Sunday morning, NYC, Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and Indiana have all deployed task forces to the effected areas. The task forces are comprised of emergency service personnel, each with specialized training in search and rescue, extrication, high water rescue and anything else necessary for successful saves. As you can see in the images below, these are very large mobilizations with dozens of personnel (120 in FDNY's case) and a wide variety of vehicles. These mobilizations are very similar to what we saw with Katrina and Sandy and they typically are able to be self sustaining for approximately 72 hours. 

Since the state of Texas as will as the President has called a state of emergency, FEMA is heavily involved in the rescue efforts as well as the Department of Homeland Security. These task forces are comprised of volunteer and paid personnel and the majority of funding comes from the federal government. As you can see in one of the last posts, these task forces operate in a convoy fashion and usually do not stop in their travels. We at The Drive commend these brave men and women and wish them the best in their efforts.

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"The New York Task Force-1 team is a compilation of #FDNY and @nypd members, all from Special Operations. We're being deployed from New York City to Texas to help in rescue and recovery. We are set to stage in San Antonio and we're going to await orders depending on the severity of the damage. We are set up for all types of rescues, including swiftwater rescues. We have a compilation of tools that include boats, motors, dry suits, rescue equipment for collapsed structures, rope equipment for confined spaces, and a large compilation of Haz-Mat equipment and tools. We're also supplied with a large, self-sufficient cache of food and supplies that make us sustainable for up to 72 hours in a row. I believe we're ready to face any danger," says FDNY Battalion Chief Jack Flatley, Task Force Leader of New York City’s elite Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) NY Task Force-1, which was deployed in the early hours of Sunday, August 27, to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The team is comprised of FDNY and NYPD members trained to respond to catastrophic events, and it has been activated in the past to assist with emergency response throughout the world, including Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In 2016, the team rescued/removed over 100 people affected by Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. FDNY Rescue Paramedic Silvana Uzcategui says, "We are trained to save lives before patients are extricated from natural or man-made disasters. Our role in Texas is to provide medical care, to take care of civilians and the task force members. We're in the disaster zone. We're expecting torrential rains, winds, floods, and chaotic conditions. We're ready for it."

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