Above, Brentwood crews deployed to South Carolina in 2015 for hurricane relief. // FILE
By BROOKE WANSER
Williamson County swift water rescue specialists are preparing to deploy a team to Texas this afternoon after their assistance was requested by the state of Texas for Hurricane Harvey rescues.
Todd Horton, the Franklin Fire Department’s deputy fire chief and head of emergency management, said the team of 24 people from Williamson county would deploy to College Station, Tex., later this afternoon.
Horton said nine people from the Franklin Fire Department, along with six from the Brentwood Fire Department, six from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department and three from the local emergency management agency, along with a county-wide total of five rescue boats, would be driving down to the Houston area. The Spring Hill Police and Fire and Departments sent out a team on Monday.
“We obviously hate that people are experiencing this disaster, but anything we can do to help we want to be a part of it,” he said.
Horton said the city had signed an emergency management assistance compact, which allows states that declare a state of emergency to request assistance.
“Our orders basically say that we are going to locations with no infrastructure,” Horton said; rescuers have packed enough meals, water and fuel to survive without assistance during their seven-day deployment. He said he expects a relief team to be deployed after that seven-day period.
Horton’s team has trained for emergencies and been called in for rescues before, including flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew last year in South Carolina. But he acknowledges the difference with Hurricane Harvey: “Certainly this will be the largest scale loss that any of our department has been involved with in their careers.”
Still, Horton said his department shows no signs of intimidation. “We’ve obviously all been preparing for the call and expecting it to come,” he said. “It’s what we train for, it’s what we prepare for. It’s simply an emergency that’s on a different scale.”