Our teams thoughts and prayer go out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. We saw many sad but also heroic and heartwarming moments. We helped all we could, took every mission handed to us and actively pursued (correctly through the EOC) additional missions. What impacted me the most was the determination and steadfast resolve that Texans will prevail and for the vast majority, do it with strength, dignity and empathy and consideration for others around them. They are suffering, yet everyday we witnessed them donating to others. To the fuel owner at the Shell station located at hwy 62 & I-10 to the Citgo that swept me out the door when I tried to buy some supplies, to the Manager at the Walmart in Vidor, TX. Their appreciation and support was overwhelming.
On August 29, 2017 at approximately 2200hrs Gulf States Dive and Rescue arrived at the Orange Co. Texas Emergency Operations Center to offer, at no charge or expected compensation, to assist them with flood rescue of their citizens. Much like our response to flooding in Plaquemines Parish from a compromised levee after Hurricane Ike, we arrived several hours before any FEMA or other local or state government resources.
Much like after Hurricane Katrina, the major city was demanding much of the states resources. Their population, geography, continued precipitation and many other factors required it.
But also like Katrina, that left some of the outer lying areas uncovered and at risk, and in need of extra resources. After consulting weather maps, storm tracking, monitoring web channels dedicated to rescue to identify clusters and trends, and considering the weather we were traveling into, myself and Alan Novak, who was working navigation and external communications from New Orleans, agreed that Orange, TX is where we should offer our assistance.
Our team was the first to arrive while traveling through thunderous conditions from New Orleans, LA. When we arrived, the EOC staff said they were expecting another fire department and the military to arrive in a couple of hours. Later, we learned that the teams only a couple of hours behind us had to be turned back secondary to flooding and the military was going to have to start landing helicopters in the parking lot.
Our 11 man, 5 boat team consisted of:
5 Certified Rescue Boat operators
6 Certified Swift Water/Flood Rescue Technicians with additional flood rescue Operations level personnel
6 Rescue Swimmers
1 Certified Swift Water/Flood Rescue, Rescue Boat Operations, Rescue Swimmer 3
Leadership: Louisiana Emergency Manager - Technical with 20 years of flood experience as a first responder.
Level of capability:
Certified technical swift water/flood rescue team
Swift water experienced, certified rescue boat teams
Mission Dates: Aug 29 - Sept 2 2017
No injuries. no damage to vessels.
Areas of Operations:
S. Terry Rd and FM1442 Orange Co, TX
Cow Bayou Area South to Hwy 105
Pine Forrest area from Stephenson St and N Main, south with heavy operations through the W Tram and Pine St areas continuing south to I-10.