Texas A&M University
Did you know....
Seventy-two emergency response professionals trained at the Texas Engineering Extension Service were called to help in searching for survivors of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center disaster?
As the tragic events of September 11, 2001, unfolded, Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) was mobilized to respond. On September 19, one-half of TX-TF1 dug into a twelve-hour shift at the World Trade Center site at 7:00 p.m. The second half replaced them at 7:00 a.m. The round-the-clock mission would continue until Tuesday, September 25.
During each twelve-hour shift, team members would search "voids": uncovered openings within the rubble. Telescoping microphones and cameras would inspect the void, as highly trained Urban Search and Rescue dogs tracked a multitude of scents. Once an area was determined to be stable, team members would then inspect the openings and tunnel-in as far they could, looking for survivors.
It was TX-TF1 that first discovered parts of an airplane, including landing gear, wiring, seats, and the fuselage. On another day, work at the site stopped and was replaced by applause from others on site, as the team completed the difficult task of using high-angle rescue techniques to safely scale a large, unstable mass of metal and cut it into pieces with a blowtorch for removal.
TX-TF1 is one of only 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue teams in the country. Team members are experts in locating and extricating victims trapped in collapsed structures and confined spaces. TX-TF1 also is one of six national Weapons of Mass Destruction teams trained to work in chemical, biological and/or radiological environments, carrying specialized equipment.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of Texas A&M University System, is training today's emergency responder to be prepared. PUF allocations provided $2 million in support toward the Emergency Operations Training Center, a 14,000 square- foot state of the art education and communication technology center. The Emergency Operations Training Center complements the training received in the outdoor classroom at "Disaster City". "Disaster City" is a sixty-acre outdoor classroom where emergency responders are trained through a multitude of realistic, hands-on scenarios. Collapsed buildings, overturned rail cars, and mock hazardous material containers are just a few of the tools used to practice vital emergency response techniques.
New York and Washington D.C. have demonstrated that emergency responders face challenges unlike any they have seen in America's history, and they have to be properly trained and prepared. Even after the headlines fade, the threat of similar events continues to permeate our daily lives. "TEEX is committed to delivering the best training possible, in the finest facilities available anywhere," says G. Kemble Bennett, Director, TEEX. "PUF allocations have helped enable us to do just that."