News Release — Vermont Emergency Management
September 12, 2017
Mark Bosma, Vermont Emergency Management, 802-839-6717
Waterbury, Vt. – Vermont Task Force 1 Swift Water Rescue has returned from its deployment to Texas. The team assisted in searches, well-being checks, and other tasks during its mission.
The 11-day deployment through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) was at the request of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The team was on the ground in the Lone Star State from September 2-8, with the rest of the mission spent travelling to and from the impacted area.
“Task Force 1 members performed their customary outstanding work in unfamiliar surroundings with hazards that are not present in Vermont,” Governor Phil Scott said. “I want to thank the members of the team for their dedication, the team members back here in Vermont who offered important support, and the families who held down the fort while their loved ones were away.”
Vermont Task Force 1 began its time in Texas on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the state staging area in Beaumont. After two days of training and preparation they were assigned to Orange County, Texas, a rural area on the Louisiana border.
The mission included the search of submerged cars, well-being checks and searches of homes from which residents were unaccounted for, and delivery of essentials like food and water. Among the usual challenges, team members had to be mindful of alligators, water snakes, and fire ants, as well as other wildlife.
“Many of us had never seen an alligator in the wild and weren’t eager to do so during our work, and we didn’t,” Task Force 1 Team Leader Michael Cannon said. “On behalf of the team I want to thank the Vermonters who voiced their support on social media and in person, the people we encountered in several states who showed great generosity, and of course our families.”
Vermont has no plans to send further swift water rescue assets out of state at this time. However, the state has offered a road crew from VTrans for debris removal and is exploring whether police officers and/or nurses are available to be offered for service in Florida.