State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

PA disaster relief team deployed to Texas

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 29, 2017 5:37 AM

Aid workers from around the country are converging in Arlington, Texas. From there, they'll be sent out to the areas worst-hit by Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- A Pennsylvania urban search-and-rescue task force is working to help people in Texas recover from what's likely the worst disaster ever to hit that state. 

PA Task Force One is one of 28 such federal task forces across the country--all of which are now convening in the Lone Star state.

Pennsylvania's team of 44 men and one woman is based in Philadelphia.

But its members--firefighters, disaster professionals, doctors and canine handlers--are from all over the commonwealth; a few are also from Maryland.

Scott Sladek, the deputy chief of special operations for the Philly fire department, said they're reporting first to the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and then will  probably fan out across the disaster zone.

"They're going to be involved in water rescues, search and rescue of homes, buildings, that type of thing," Sladek said. "If there's a collapse, they're skilled in collapse rescue. It just depends on what the situation calls for."

Sladek says it's unclear how long the relief groups will be deployed.

"They could get down there and FEMA may decide they don't need them and turn them back. Looking at what's going on down there, I don't think they're going to be turning back any time soon," he said. "They could be gone anywhere close to two weeks, at least."

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