Texas Task Force 1 is the most active urban search and rescue team in the country, having responded to at least one major disaster each year since its first deployment in 1998. TX-TF1’s urban search and rescue and water rescue teams have expertise in responding to both man-made and natural disasters, from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks to Hurricane Katrina's devastation. TX-TF1 functions as a federal team under FEMA's national urban search and rescue program and as Texas' only statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). TX-TF1 also coordinates the state's water rescue program
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.
TX-TF1 is one of the 28 teams that form the FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue System, and is in rotation for deploying to national disasters and incidents of national significance. TX-TF1 was formed after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Task Force held its first organizational meeting on Feb. 14, 1997. The Task Force joined the FEMA National US&R System in June 2001.
TX-TF1 members are trained as specialists and many members are cross-trained in other jobs on the task force. Members are required to complete over 90 hours of training per year, attend regional training and attend an annual full-scale exercise in Disaster City or mobilization exercise. TX-TF1 members bring a variety of full-time job skills to the task force. Firefighters, doctors, nurses, structural engineers, and canine handlers, among others, all comprise TX-TF1. The team is designed to be logistically self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of operation and is able to function for up to 10 days under remote and austere conditions. The team is ready at a moment’s notice and is prepared 24 hours a day to be mobilized and deployed within four hours.
During catastrophic incidents or localized flooding TX-TF1 can assist local responders with Swiftwater rescue in evolving floods or water evacuations during wide spread flooding. The Task Force has over three hundred Swiftwater and Flood rescue personnel. Personnel, boats and equipment are mobilized and self-sufficient for up to 72 hours. In addition to water response TX-TF1 partners with the Texas Military Forces (TxMF) to form a synergistic and robust aviation response based on UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. TxMF provides the aviation assets and TX-TF1 provides the rescuers through the Helicopter Search and Rescue Technician program.
Sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and headquartered in College Station, Texas,
TX-TF1 has more than 600 highly trained members from 60 organizations throughout Texas. The team maintains a $7 million equipment cache of more than 70,000 items weighing in excess of 100,000 pounds. Equipment includes hydraulic jacks; rams; shoring; high-tech listening devices; hazardous material monitoring equipment; specialized victim location devices; breaching, breaking and lifting equipment; and medical and triage equipment.