Indiana Task Force 1 deploys 14 to Texas for relief efforts

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Members of Indiana’s Task Force 1 are on their way to Texas to help with water rescue efforts.

The group of 14 people left Indianapolis around 7:15 Sunday evening. They will make the 15-hour drive through the night down to the Houston area, with plans to meet up with other FEMA groups and work together on water rescues.

The team of first responders says they’re ready for hurricane relief efforts.

“Hopefully we can get out there and help some people get out and evacuate them and help them get to safety,” said Joey Beikes, a rescue specialist.

Indiana Task Force 1 is taking with them two different types of boats, along with food, tents and medical supplies. They aimed to take enough to help those they rescue, as well as enough to sustain themselves for up to 72 hours. The group anticipated they’d be working shifts of at least 12 hours during daylight.

Hurricane Harvey is the type of event the team said they hope never happens, but one they train and prepare for.

“We have 210 members on our team, and they are all specifically trained in eight different divisions, and a lot of them are cross-trained. That’s what you’re seeing in this particular deployment piece. You’re seeing a lot of cross-trained folks who put a lot of time and energy into being as well-trained in their technical field as possible,” said Jay Settergren, a battalion chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department and a training coordinator for Indiana Task Force 1.

Members have to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“I was at my kids’ baseball games, so I had to tell them goodbye, and they finished their games, and I came and packed and got here real quick,” said Beikes.

Almost every member of this team has been deployed before. Members say they don’t think twice when they get the call that their help is needed.

“It is just the adrenaline in us that the firefighters that do this, the police officers, the medical people … we just love helping others, and it is just what we like to do,” said Beikes.

This particular group is heading for Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. They could be sent to a different location as more rain moves through.

Leaders say they will be in constant communication with teams already in Texas, and that teams will go wherever they are needed most.

Hoosiers who want to donate money to those affected by Hurricane Harvey can click here and here for resources.

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