Specialty Kansas task force prepared to respond in Texas

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) A specialty Kansas task force which is trained like FEMA prepares to respond to Hurricane Harvey and help with rescue efforts, according to a Sedgwick County Fire Chief.

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According to the Kansas Emergency Management Office, the state has been in contact with authorities in Texas to let them know Task Force 5 and other Kansas task forces are ready to go, if needed.

Chief Carl Cox is the coordinator for Task Force 5, one of several task forces in Kansas trained and equipped to handle search and rescue in these situations. He said the team that would go down to Texas will operate in a mirror image of how FEMA operates.

Task Force 5 is made up of eight departments in south central Kansas. It's one of several regions in the state determined by Homeland Security. The federal government funds these search and rescue teams.

Cox said once Texas calls on Kansas for assistance, the Kansas Emergency Management Office and the Kansas Fire Marshal's Office send a couple people from each region's task force to respond. The team becomes the Kansas USAR team.

Cox said the state was ready. He said the state has been calling responders on these task forces and making a list of who is able to respond. Cox said it would make the response quicker rather than calling people after hearing the call for help.

The Neodesha Fire Department posted on Facebook regarding the task forces saying, "All 6 Kansas teams including Task force 4 of which Neodesha is a member are standing down on departure due to some revaluation of their request. All teams are packed and ready for the go ahead tomorrow."

*Editor's Note: This article originally stated Task Force 5 had gotten the call from Texas, which is what the Sedgwick County Fire Department told us Tuesday. We have corrected this article after the state said that information was incorrect and Kansas had just called Texas to let authorities there know Kansas is ready to respond.