What Are the Texas Task Forces and What Do They Do?

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Tony Maples Photography


In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we saw so many heroic acts performed on the Gulf Coast. One of the agencies in the thick of it during the storm recovery were the Texas Task Forces. What are the Texas Task Forces and how do they work?

An Urban Search and Rescue Task Force

Texas Task Force 1

Photo: Facebook/TXTF2

Texas Task Force 1 played a big role in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast. Texas Task Force 1 (abbreviated: TX-TF1) is a FEMA urban search and rescue task force. It is one of 28 teams that form the FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue System, and as such, it is in rotation for deploying to national disasters and incidents of national significance. It is sponsored by the Texas Engineering Extension Service and headquartered in College Station, Texas.

Heroes in Disasters

Texas Task Forces

Photo: Facebook/TXTF1

Texas Task Force 1 personnel have responded to incidents such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Texas Task Force 1 was dispatched to the April 17, 2013, West fertilizer plant explosion and was dispatched to assist in the wake of the 2013 Moore tornado. In 2014, they were dispatched to an area outside of Little Rock, Arkansas to assist after a number of tornadoes hit the area.

It is made up of responders from over 60 jurisdictions across Texas and has over 450 active members, all of whom must reside within a three-hour radius of College Station. Firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, structural engineers, and canine handlers are among those making up the Task Force teams. Each month, one team is on standup, one team is on standby, and one team is on stand-down; the standup team must be ready 24 hours a day to be mobilized and deployed within four hours.

Heeding the Call to Serve

TX-TF trucks

Photo: Facebook/TXTF2

Texas Task Force 2 was also heavily involved in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Based in the Dallas area, this Task Force typically handles emergencies in the northernmost portion of the state. Given the severity of this hurricane, TX-TF2 was deployed to the Gulf Coast as well. To learn more about these government agencies visit their website here or here.