MCFRS News Release

Maryland Search and Rescue Team in Louisiana

Maryland Task Force searching Terrebonne Parish Louisiana; Eight other Montgomery County personnel assisting  with incident management and support in Texas and elsewhere

Early this morning MDTF-1 arrived in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana.  Terrebone Parish is in southern Louisiana and covers over 1200 square miles. It is situated along the Gulf Coast.  The urban area of the Parish is Houma, LA, a city of 14 square miles with a population of about 40,000.  They will join FLTF-2 (Florida Task Force Two - Miami), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (boats) and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Houma, LA.  Collectively they are expected to do a grid by grid, systematic search of the urban, suburban and rural areas (starting with the Houma area) with the intention to search the entire Parrish.

Montgomery County (MD) Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Scott Graham says “We are going into the bayou area and going door to door ensuring the wellness of those who decided not to evacuate. Weather is a hindrance as we are working between thunder storms and heavy rain.” Assistant Chief Graham is the MDTF-1 team leader.  Terrebone Parish was recently hard hit by Hurricane Gustav.

Eight (8) other Montgomery County personnel are deployed as part of FEMA’s Incident Management Team and Incident Support Team efforts. Currently these personnel are working in Texas in the Beaumont area, Houston and Galveston, as well as Lafayette, Louisiana (along with MDTF-1 and others) and at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday afternoon, September 11, 2008, Maryland Task Force One (MDTF-1) was activated and deployed to the Louisiana and the Texas region to assist Hurricane Ike.  MDTF-1 is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supported Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team based out of Montgomery County, Maryland and comprised almost exclusively of personnel from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. 

At FEMA’s request MDTF-1 dispatched a light task force comprised of 35 persons, including specialists from various disciplines such as structural engineers, search and rescue canines (dogs), technical search, communications, planning, hazardous materials, medical (including a physician), as well as management oversight.  Whenever activated, the team is always self-sufficient. 

Other FEMA Urban Search & Rescue task forces and Incident Support Teams (IST) were deployed and pre-positioned in the region, including teams from Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, and Florida to enhance FEMA assets already in place.  There are 28 FEMA US&R teams in the United States. Additional US&R resources are available to respond from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service should they be requested by FEMA.

UPDATE: MDTF-1 (Maryland Task Force One - Montgomery County, MD)  A team of 34 personnel left on Thursday 9/11, in a caravan of nine vehicles and arrived in Lafayette, LA on Friday, 9/12.  They staged with other federal assets and six (6) other Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) task forces.  MDTF-1 was first to arrive at staging area at Lafayette University (Cajundome).  On Saturday, 9/13 they were sent to Jennings, LA. (an area that had reportedly been hit by tornados).  They staged in town - no search and rescue necessary at the time.

On Sunday, 9/14, MDTF-1 conducted DECON ops for several other teams that had deployed to areas not far from Jennings, LA and the Texas border. Upon return from their mission on Sunday, personnel and equipment from those teams needed decontamination (standard procedure).  Most of the team spent the day training with other federal agencies, primarily the Border Patrol.

Early this morning, 9/15, MDTF-1 arrived in Terrebone Parish, Louisiana.  Terrebone Parish is in southern Louisiana and covers over 1200 square miles. It is situated along the Gulf Coast.  The urban area of the Parish is Houma, LA, a city of 14 square miles with a population of about 40,000.  They will join FLTF-2 (Florida Task Force Two - Miami), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (boats)and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Houma, LA.  Collectively they are expected to do a grid by grid, systematic search of the urban, suburban and rural areas (starting with the Houma area) with the intention to search the entire Parrish.

 

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