Virginia, Maryland deploy emergency task forces to Texas

(File photo: Virginia Task Force One)

FAIRFAX, Va. — Members of state search and rescue team Virginia Task Force 1 and Maryland Task Force 1 have been deployed to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a devastating tropical storm that has killed two so far.

VA-TF1, sponsored by the Fairfax County Fire Department, is made up of around “200 specially trained career and volunteer fire and rescue personnel, with expertise in the rescue of victims from collapsed structures, following a natural or man-made catastrophic event,” states their website. MD-TF1 is sponsored by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. As part of FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, they assist both locally and around the world.

The teams are also known as USA One when they’re away from home. Members of VA-TF1 were previously activated during Hurricane Irene, and also made a trip to Japan in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

A VA-TF1 Swiftwater team of fourteen and a Swiftwater team of around 30 MD-TF1 left on Sunday afternoon.