Hoosier first responders arrive to help in Texas suburbs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A crew of highly-trained and skilled first responders from Indiana arrived in Texas on Monday. The Indiana Task Force One deployed last week, with another group leaving Sunday night.

Right now, there are 24 members of the team in Houston suburbs to help with flooding. A team of 15 people trained in water rescues brought six boats to help rescue people who may be stuck in their homes. About 25-30 percent of Texas residents didn't evacuate before the heavy rains began.

"They have set up search grids. So basically, areas to be searched. They do that by priority, so if they know they have received information that people are in certain areas or neighborhoods, they will search those," explained task force coordinator, Jay Settergren.  He added, "we’re searching this area in a flooded capacity right now and we are probably going to have to go back and do a secondary search once the water recedes."

The crews are expecting to be there for 14 to 21 days. Some of them may rotate with other first responders in Indianapolis, if needed. They will begin their search efforts in Beaumont and Galveston, Texas, but could be diverted to other areas, including Louisiana.

Teams of 84 additional emergency personnel are also waiting to be deployed from Indiana to Texas if they get a request from FEMA. The crews will bring semi trucks full of supplies including tools like saws, generators, and breaching tools needed for search and rescue, structural engineering, hazmat and medical problems.

Other first responders are also on the road to Texas. Members from the Buck Creek Township Fire Department sent eight crew members in four ambulances. They will arrive in Arlington around 8 p.m.

The Indiana State Department of Homeland Security is encouraging citizens not to "self-deploy" during disaster response. They said it could be dangerous for them, as well as other responders working in the area. Learn how you can give to relief efforts here.

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