Task Force One Headed South

1 decade 3 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 20 2007 Aug 20, 2007 Monday, August 20, 2007 10:42:01 AM CDT August 20, 2007 in News

Missouri Task Force One is loading up and heading south. A small group came in today to pack equipment and supplies, but most of the team spent time with family ahead of what could be a two week deployment.

Task Force One will arrive almost two days ahead of the storm. Even with a clear game plan, it's up to Hurricane Dean to make the final move.

"We'd like to be in position, in a staging location, 48 hours before the storm hits. So that we've got ourselves in place, we're ready, as soon as the storm passes, then you can engage in rescue work," said Boone County Assistant Fire Chief and Task Force Leader Doug Westhoff.

Missouri Task Force One is following detailed orders, deploying a type three team including 34 people and 20,000 pounds of equipment. Each trailer is packed following a detailed set of instructions.

"A lot of our logistics people are in modifying the load plans to configure to the type III load," said Boone County Fire Chief Steve Paulsell.

Even with all this prep work, there are many unknowns after the team hits Texas. Task Force One will leave Missouri Monday morning to join other teams at the staging area in Dallas. Then it's a waiting game.

Hurricane Dean will decided where the team goes and how long it stays.

"We become just another resource for the state of Texas to engage in whatever kind of missions arise based on the storm. Whether that's a structural collapse, a water rescue, medical care, evacuation of fixed facilities," said Westhoff.

Task Force One became an elite urban search and rescue team in 1997. It's responded to national emergencies like the World Trade Center, the Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy and Hurricane Katrina. Task Force One pulls out around 9:00 a.m. Monday. It's orders are to be in Dallas by midnight.

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