TX-TF1 maintains a state-of-the-art equipment cache utilized by the Task Force during a number of different types of deployments. The different types of caches include a FEMA cache, a state cache, a water rescue cache, a helicopter cache, IST cache, HEPP cache, and a fleet cache. The different cache types are described below.
The FEMA cache is a cache standardized by FEMA utilized for all FEMA US&R task forces. This cache weighs nearly 100,000 pounds and is worth over $7 million. It is specifically designed to allow a task force to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of a deployment, and operate with assistance for up to 14 days. The FEMA cache is divided into different types of equipment, described below.
- Medical primarily provides assistance to ensure the well-being of task force members and immediate care necessary for victims
- Supplies are tailored for an austere environment and lifesaving modalities for crush victims
- Items in this cache include various types of medicines, fluids, blankets, tracheal tubes, defibrillators, burn treatment supplies, bone saws, and scalpels
- Rescue primarily uses supplies to safely reach trapped victims by conducting breaching and breaking
- Supplies include concrete saws, concreate breakers, coring tools, jackhammers, drills, lumber (to create shoring systems), rope, hydraulic jacks, hydraulic rescue tools, airbags, and heavy rigging equipment (used to gain access to and extricate survivors from collapsed structures)
- Communications allows the task force members to stay in contact and be notified after finding a victim or in case of an evacuation
- Supplies include generators, lights, radios, cellular phones, laptops, and other electronics equipment
- Search primarily utilizes several electronic tools that enhance the searchers' abilities to locate survivors in parallel effort with the Canine Search Teams.
- Supplies include snake-like cameras (used to peer into void spaces that personnel and canines cannot access), thermal imaging camera (used to find survivors that are warmer than their surroundings when there is low visibility), sensitive listening devices (utilized to help triangulate the area where survivors are buried deeply in a rubble pile), and the Nikon Total Station (which is a very powerful tool that can be used to make ultra-accurate measurements to determine if a building is stable and appropriate for search and rescue operations or that the building requires additional stabilization before proceeding)
- Logistics take care of any and all logistical needs such as food, water, and electricity
- Supplies include sleeping bags, cots, food, water, cold weather gear, as well as many of the blades, bits, and replacement parts that are critical to the continued operation of the entire equipment cache
- Hazardous Materials
- HazMat primarily monitors the environment for any signs of danger towards victims or task force members
- Utilize chemical and radiological monitoring equipment to clearly delineate:
- cold zones (not affected)
- warm zones (working area where survivors may be located)
- hot zones (area too dangerous to enter)
- Plans is responsible for the planning aspects of the task force during incident operations
Supplies include computers, laptops, cables, Ethernet/ LAN equipment, and cameras
Though the FEMA Cache can be used in the state of Texas during certain events, TX-TF1 also manages a separate state cache as well. The state cache is used when a Quick Response Force (QRF) is called to respond inside the state of Texas to an event or disaster. The state cache is made up of around 10,000 items that have previously been part of the FEMA cache. These items may include the following:
- Hand tools, chainsaws, hydraulic tools, generators, search cameras, communications equipment, and hazmat monitors
Current versions of multi-gas monitoring devices for hazardous
atmospheres. For the safety of the responders and survivors, chemical and radiological monitoring equipment is used to clearly
water rescue cache
- cold zones (not affected)
- warm zones (working area where survivors
may be located)
- hot zones (area too dangerous to enter)
A very large portion of the Task Force's cache supports the state's and FEMA's flood and swiftwater response operations. TX-TF1 maintains a large water rescue cache available in the event of floodwater or swiftwater flooding events.
Some of the water rescue cache includes the following:
- 30 boats, which are trailered for immediate deployment with ample boat motors for continuous operation in the event of mechanical failure
- Specialized rope launching apparatus and equipment to support tethered rescues when motorized boat operation is deemed too dangerous
central division incident support team (IST) cache
Within the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System, there are three Incited Support Teams (IST). An IST is a standalone team made up of highly trained and qualified specialists from different task forces across the United States. This team supports the deployed US&R task forces through incident command assistance, support logistics, and resupply functions that are typical to a large, complex incident.
In the event of an incident, the three IST members that are closest to the disaster site immediately deploy and provide support until the rest of the team deploys. The 25 remaining members of the IST are given two hours to mobilize after the initial request from FEMA. The three IST teams use a traditional rotation model of red, white, and blue that cycles between "Up", "Standby", and "Stand down" on a monthly bases.
The IST is required to be self-sufficient for at least 24 hours and prepared to respond for up to 14 days. In order to comply with this requirement, the IST deploys with a cache of materials designed to fully support operation. There are a total of three IST Caches located across the nation, one in the east US (Virginia), one in the central US (Texas), and one in the west US (California). In addition, there is a supplemental cache that is rarely used, located near FEMA headquarters (Virginia). The Central IST Cache is located at TX-TF1 Headquarters and is maintained by technicians located at TX-TF1 Headquarters.
Some of the items in the IST cache includes the following:
- A form of Shelter
- Communications equipment
- ATVs for IST personnel use
- Command vehicle
- Communications vehicles
- 2 semi-tractors and trailers to move the IST cache and vehicles
Hazardous Environmental Push Package (HEPP) Cache
The FEMA cache that deploys with a team allows members protection from hazardous environments for up to 72 hours. In the event that a task force needs additional support, they may request a HEPP cache. The HEPP cache is one of the newest caches created by FEMA utilized as an extension to the original cache. It allows personnel an additional 12-36 hours in a hazardous environment. This number depends on how serious the environment is as well as the number of people utilizing the equipment. Across the nation, there are a total of 7 HEPP caches located at the following task forces: MD-TF1, FL-TF2, IN-TF1, CO-TF1, NV-TF1, CA-TF7, and TX-TF1. The HEPP cache is managed by personnel at each location. Some of the items in this cache include the following:
- Personal Detection Equipment
- Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
- Decontamination Kits
The fleet cache is comprised of different items that allow the task force to transport personnel and equipment during a training event or deployment. Items in this cache include the following:
- Two semi-tractors and trailers to transport the cache on aviation pallets.
- Several 24 or 28 foot box trucks to transport rescue and logistics supplies needed for immediate search and rescue.
- Two stake bed trucks are utilized to move equipment and personnel and can be utilized as high profile vehicles for the evacuation of survivors during a flood.
- F350, F450 and F550 pickup trucks are utilized to haul equipment trailers, boats and personnel during a response.
- Fifteen passenger vans are used to move task force members and canines on instate deployments as well as contracting for motor coaches to move the bulk of the personnel