TX-TF1 functions as one of the 28 federal teams under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System and as a statewide urban search and rescue team under direction of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). TX-TF1 also coordinates the state’s swiftwater rescue program and the helicopter search and rescue team which works in conjunction with Texas Military Department.
TX-TF1 held its first organizational meeting on February 14, 1997 after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Soon after inception, TX-TF1 went on their first deployment as an Urban Search and Rescue Team in May 1997 to the central Texas town of Jarrell, after an F-5 tornado touched down.
In June 2001, TX-TF1 joined the FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System and responded to their first national incident during the events of September 11, 2001. Joining many task forces, TX-TF1 responded to the collapsed World Trade Center buildings in New York City and searched tirelessly through the debris for victims.
Throughout its existence, TX-TF1 has served the state of Texas and the nation by participating in over 100 deployments, relentlessly completing search and rescue missions with highly trained and qualified personnel.
Sponsored by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and headquartered in College Station, Texas, TX-TF1 has more than 600 members from 60 organizations throughout Texas. Members consist of firefighters, doctors, nurses, structural engineers, canine handlers, professors, police officers, and many other professionals throughout different fields.
This team of highly skilled individuals is designed to be logistically self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of operation and is able to function for up to 14 days under remote and austere conditions.
Members of TX-TF1 participate in over 25,000 hours of training per year. TX-TF1 conducts 2 mobilization exercises per year as well as 1 operational readiness exercise. In addition, they also have monthly and regional skills sets for a number of disciplines. Though some training is conducted outside of College Station, TX-TF1 primarily trains at the world-renowned Disaster City™ in College Station, TX. Disaster City is a 52-acre training facility designed to simulate various levels of disaster and structural collapse. It is filled with full-scale collapsible structures with a variety of different infrastructures that can be found in every community in the United States. Some of these examples include a strip mall, movie theater, and a passenger train derailment.