Vancouver fire staff head to Texas amid Harvey floods

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Two Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services members are headed to Southern Texas, amid mass flooding caused by former Hurricane Harvey.

Captain Jonathan Gormick says they were invited down by Texas Task Force 1, and adds the chance to learn during this kind of disaster was just something they couldn’t pass up.

“Getting an opportunity to see how the command and control structure works for an operation that large is a very special and unique opportunity and will definitely benefit our team in the future.”

He estimates there to be more than 12,000 personnel currently operating in that region.

“Ranging between Heavy Urban Search and Rescue teams, military police, Coast Guard, and the Texas National Guard.”

Gormick explains the two members will be embedded with command staff, and will be there under an observational capacity.

“Really learning some of the nuances of how an operation of this size works,” he says, and adds crews have been deployed to other disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Johnsons Landing.

They’ll bring back what they’ve learned to help our very own Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) task force, also known as Canada Task Force 1 (CANTF1), excel.

Gormick assures the decision to send these resources was carefully thought out, and says losing these two members temporarily will not affect local efforts.

“Of course our primary concern is the safety and well-being of the citizens of Vancouver, second to that would be the population of the province of BC.”

There are some Vancouver Fire and Rescue staff currently deployed in parts of the province to help with wildfire efforts.

It is unclear how long the VFRS members will be in Texas, but Gormick says it’ll depend on how many operational periods this crisis will last for.

“I would imagine as long as possible to see the various stages of this as it escalates, as it levels out, and then as they start to demobilize some of the staff that are on the ground and start with the recovery and resilience efforts.”

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