On Saturday, October 27, nine TEXSAR members traveled to Bryan, TX to assist Cen-Tex SAR during a 200-person Search and Rescue training exercise at Lake Bryan. TEXSAR members fulfilled the roles of Incident Command personnel and canine flankers during the large exercise, which included the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment, Bryan Police and Fire Departments, Texas Department of Public Safety, and many other units and agencies to see how well multiple groups can coordinate and work together on large scale emergencies. The exercise lasted from early in the morning to late in the afternoon as land, boat, and air units broke up into small search teams tasked to find, assess, and extract up to 50 casualties from 26 search sectors from both the water and surrounding areas.
On Saturday, September 22, 2012, TEXSAR deployed two teams to support the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management (GCOEM). The teams worked with Harris County Hazmat, Galveston Fire Department (GFD), The HELP Foundation and the Galveston Port Authority Police Department (GPAPD).
The teams participated in the Incident Support Team to provide detection and observation during the commission of the USS Fort Worth and other events in the Port Authority area. Harris County Hazmat members provided our teams with training and equipment and the GCOEM established an Incident Command Post to coordinate public safety issues during these events. TEXSAR teams were supported by the Fire and Law Enforcement team members.
TEXSAR held training at Russel Park on Lake Georgetown over the weekend. The team held exercises covering Search and Rescue elements including navigation, grid searches, clue detection, patient packaging and extraction, communications, water rescue, and Incident Command.
TEXSAR members CR Thomas and Brandon Goering completed the ICS All-Hazards Planning Section Chief course in Waco this week facilitated by the Texas Forestry Service. The instructors had decades of experience in incident management, and the class was comprised of very skilled emergency response professionals from across the state. This training is a great asset to TEXSAR’s Incident Management Team.
The Bastrop Heart Of The Pines Volunteer Fire Department has made a significant commitment to provide TEXSAR with donations of equipment, a vehicle and training for our wildland fire team members! These are the same folks that lost many of their homes and much of their equipment during the Labor Day fires of 2011. We look forward to providing them with training, SAR and disaster response resources in the future. These are terrific people and hard working volunteers.
Last week the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team made a significant contribution of equipment and supplies to TEXSAR! It took two pick-ups to load it all. There are enough supplies that we may likely be able to share some items with some of our partner teams! TEXSAR is grateful for both the donation and the growing relationship with the Dive team members. We are working on a date to exercise with them soon!!
On June 12 two of our TEXSAR members graduated as Master Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Instructors. This will allow TEXSAR to provide training to new CERT Instructors throughout Texas for both Adult and Teen CERT programs. Mackenzie Kelly and Greg Pyles were two of only nine CERT Instructors from across the State selected to take this training. They were the only graduates from the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) Region.
The training was provided by CAPCOG, North Central Texas Council of Governments and Texas Department of Emergency Management. The training venue and support were provided by the Austin/Travis County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department. TEXSAR is proud to support, develop and foster the CERT program in Texas as a way to help our communities and first responder agencies increase resiliency and initial action effectiveness during incidents and disasters.
This weekend, TEXSAR members Shawn Hohnstreiter and John Michael Gibbs completed the final processes in gaining apprentice instructor status for vertical rope rescue and flood and swiftwater rescue. The new instructors join TEXSAR member and instructor Mark Baumann as the training cadre for TEXSAR’s vertical rescue team and flood and swiftwater rescue team.
Regarding the achievement, Instructor Hohnstreiter said, “This represents the growth of our search and rescue team and our commitment to the community. We can be sure our technical rescue teams have the highest level of training and the greatest abilities to rescue those in need.”
At the request of the Central Texas Community Emergency Response Team Coordinator TEXSAR’s CERT trainers met with the Village of Point Venture Emergency Management team and interested citizens on Wednesday evening, May 30. Point Venture is launching their first Community Emergency Response Team training and the meeting was to provide information about the program and how TEXSAR would deliver the training and support the program. City officials will begin scheduling the classes and we will provide the training and CERT program management support. Great City leadership, hospitality and great group of volunteers!!
On Saturday morning, May 19th, TEXSAR team members headed to New Braunfels to participate in a training “play day” with Wesley Meyers of Rescue Training International (RTI). The morning started at a heavily canopied canyon preserve where TEXSAR members, along with members from TMAR and first responders from across Texas, were provided with an overview of Land Search and Rescue Concepts and Lost Person Behavior Patterns. Participants then practiced and refined their line search and echo location skills. Next was basic rappelling that offered enough time for beginners to become comfortable with the seat harness and with locking off and then releasing the rope from the rappel device to ascend. Others, including a few beginners, had fun with inverted rappel techniques. It was then off to the Guadalupe River for demonstrations and practical exercises with throw bags, survival swim, low water crossing and self defense techniques.