INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Another group of Hoosiers are gearing up to head to Texas if needed. Indiana Task Force 1 already has two crews there, and they’re prepared to send more. Mike Pruitt is the Public Information Officer for Wayne Township Fire Dept. He’s also the PIO for Indiana Task Force 1. He recently attended a work training conference in Florida, but had to leave early. Pruitt needed to be in a position where he could help those in Texas.
“This is my bag. This is all the extras that I would carry to get me through,” said Pruitt.
Pruitt is ready to go, as soon as he gets the word from FEMA. “You have a lot of extra clothes to change into. That’s basically what this bag is all about,” he said.
Because Indiana Task Force 1 is a federal search and rescue team, if and when FEMA calls, Pruitt and other members of the team could be deployed at anytime.
“Once the phone call is made, we have about a four hour window to get out the door and typically we are out the door much quicker than that,” Pruitt said.
On Tuesday, crews completed safety checks. They’re making sure equipment, such as water rescue boats, is in good working condition. According to Pruitt, 84 people from Indiana Task Force 1 are on standby ready for deployment. It’s at least a 21 day commitment.
“We don’t know what the mission is going to be if we’re given one yet. But, when that comes in, we know where everyone plugs in on the team,” said Pruitt.
Currently, there are two teams in Texas; a water rescue team and a hazardous material team. They’re reporting back with good news.
“There were two vehicles that were stranded. One of those vehicles had six family members in it. The other had one person in it. They were able to access those people and get to them and pull them from those vehicles,” said Pruitt.
Most of the work task members do is volunteer. But even though there is little monetary compensation, the real compensation comes in a different form.
“You would not be a member of this team if you did not want to help people,” said Pruitt.
There are about 150 people on the Indiana Task Force 1 team from all over the state. They’re always looking for people to join from fire fighters to paramedics to regular civilians. If you’d like more information, click here.