DENVER — Dozens of first responders from Colorado arrived in the Houston metro area on Sunday evening. The rescue teams from communities across Colorado are now under the control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The crews brought boats and other equipment in an effort to save those trapped in flooded areas.
The first responders are part of Colorado Task Force One — a team of first responders from 22 agencies across the state.
Proud @DenverFireDept spc. ops. team, incl. divers, headed to assist in @Texas as part of @Co Task Force. "We are here to serve!"
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) August 27, 2017
“We’ve got our stuff ready to go, and then, when the call goes — we go,” South Metro Fire Rescue Capt. Dan Stutz said.
Stutz is one of the team leaders on standby for Texas.
More than 50 firefighters and other trained personnel from Colorado started the more than 1,000-mile drive at 1 a.m. Sunday.
Officials said they traveled with 100,000 pounds of equipment, including tractor trailers, box trucks, pickups and boats.
3 AFR members deployed to #hurricaneharvey with CO Task Force 1 FEMA search and rescue team. Water is rising stay safe Texas #aurorafire
— Aurora Fire Rescue (@AuroraFireDpt) August 27, 2017
“We’re going to get moving as quick as we possibly can,” West Metro Division Chief Steve Aseltine said.
Aseltine’s crews, coordinating with the federal government, likely will be assigned missions shortly after arriving in the Houston area.
Stutz, a 25-year task force veteran, knows stubborn storms bring lingering rain and what seems like never-ending flooding.
“You can’t make plans for 50 inches of rain,” Stutz said. “It’s so rare.”
Colorado’s first responders will be deployed on boats and possibly team up with crews from elsewhere to perform helicopter rescue missions, according to task force officials.
Colorado is home to one of 28 federal urban search and rescue task forces. The teams are activated by the president after a federal declaration frees up emergency funds.