(From the Missouri Department of Public Safety)
The assistance Missouri first responders are providing to survivors of Hurricane Harvey has significantly increased in the last 24 hours. Wednesday evening 56 Missourians representing 18 different fire and ambulance departments deployed to Texas to assist with swift water rescue operations, in response to an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request from the state of Texas.
“I am proud of the work our Missouri responders are doing to save lives and assist our fellow Americans in Texas,” Gov. Eric Greitens said. “Those of us at home send our prayers to the survivors of Hurricane Harvey and all of the first responders who are risking their own safety to protect others.”
Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team with swift water rescue capabilities that has been in Texas since Friday night, Aug. 25, had already completed the rescue of more than 375 people and over 35 pets through Wednesday.
In addition, the Missouri Air National Guard 139th Airlift Wing began supporting rescue operations on Sunday, Aug. 27, by transport specialized military personnel and equipment into Texas from Kentucky. Currently, about 20 139th Citizen-Airmen and two C-130 Hercules tactical aircraft are positioned at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. In Texas, they have transported personnel and cargo between Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, and San Antonio's Kelly Field.
The Missouri fire and EMS swift waster rescue personnel who deployed Wednesday night compose four teams. The teams from the Kansas City and Cape Girardeau areas have received mission assignments and forward deployed to the Sugarland, Texas area. The two teams from the St. Louis region are currently staged in College Station, Texas, and awaiting mission assignments.
Missouri Task Force 1 is currently assigned to training Houston Fire Department firefighters on the use of GPS for wide-area searches. GPS can benefit both tracking areas covered by search efforts and documenting the locations of hazardous materials, damaged structures and other data.
The Missouri National Guard is continuing to monitor the situation in Texas and Louisiana. Planning is underway to provide additional support, if requested, for a wide-range of missions, including transportation, engineer support, security and medical response capabilities.
In addition, personnel from Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency and Division of Fire Safety assisted in locating the personnel and equipment to respond to Texas’s EMAC request for swift water rescue teams. They continue to monitor for any additional EMAC requests for assistance that Missouri could fulfill.
Here are the agencies that responded to Texas Wednesday evening: Cape Girardeau Fire Department, Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Central County Fire and Rescue, Cottleville Fire Protection District, Lake St. Louis Fire Protection District, Jackson Fire Rescue, Kansas City Fire Department, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, Mehlville Fire Protection District, Metro West Fire Protection District, Monarch Fire Protection District, O’Fallon Fire Protection District, Pattonville Fire Protection District, Orchard Farm Fire Protection District, St. Charles County Ambulance District, St Charles Fire Department, Wentzville Fire Protection District, and West County EMS and Fire Protection District.