North Texas rescue crews sending help for Hurricane Harvey

- As Hurricane Harvey intensifies, North Texas search and rescue crews are heading south, and the city of Dallas is preparing to shelter possible evacuees.

The men and women in the crews know the drill. When they get the call, they will drop everything to mobilize and deploy to help those hit the hardest.

Dallas-based Texas Task Force 2 is sending a 70-member crew consisting of first responders and K-9s from across the region.

"We've got equipment for stabilizing structures," said Steve Coffman with the task force. "We've got equipment for extricating people from pretty much any sort of situation. We've got the board for doing water rescues."

Dallas Fire Rescue also has about 10 first responders already in College Station, where Texas Task Force 1 deploys from.

Jason Evans with Dallas Fire-Rescue says those leaving on Thursday will go to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio and wait for their assignment from there.

"There's always the chance where you can have an incident where you're working recovery or a search and rescue where you need your dog," Evans said. "So you want to make sure we have every asset for the team as possible."

Texas Task Force 2 is anticipating mostly water rescues but is prepared for all kinds of scenarios.            

“High angle rescue, all types of structural collapse, trench rescue, Hazardous materials and swift water,” Evans explained.

The city of Dallas Office of Emergency Management says it has not received a request from the state to open shelters for evacuees, but it is preparing to do so. They'll start with the largest recreation centers: Walnut Hill, Tommie M. Allen and Samuel grand. All three buildings accommodate about a thousand people.

As a last resort, Dallas would combine shelters for one mega-shelter at the Dallas Convention Center, but they don't want to disturb conventions. Grand Prairie, Irving and Garland also have shelters ready to go if need.

“There are a lot of places they can go to between the coast and coming up all the way to Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said Rocky Vaz with the emergency management office. “But in case it happens, we want to be ready.” 

Emergency managers stress that sending recourses to the coast will not affect any emergency response or resources needed in Dallas.

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