A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

More rescue workers from Kentucky headed to Texas to assist with Harvey cleanup effort

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

More Kentuckians are heading to Texas to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Forty-six airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard will join with 14 other members who were sent Sunday to perform rescue operations in the Friendswood area about halfway between Houston and Galveston.

The additional airmen were sent Tuesday to George Bush International Airport in Houston where they are helping in aeromedical evacuation and cargo operations. They brought equipment, including communications gear, power generators and all-terrain forklifts for the off-loading of humanitarian assistance arriving by airlift.

Kentucky Air National Guard members perform water rescues in Friendswood, Texas, between Houston and Galveston. (Photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer of the 123rd Airlift Wing’s Public Affairs office)

The Lexington Fire Department sent a water rescue team to Texas on Wednesday. Along with 18 firefighters, they are deploying two boats, an SUV, a passenger van, a pickup truck and a support trailer. They are staging at College Station, 95 miles from Houston, and expect to be there for nine days.

Two interagency fire crews, with 20 members each, from the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Division of Mine Permits and the U. S. Forest Service, left for Texas on Tuesday.

Although the crews are best known for their wildland fire suppression skills, they also have experience responding to all types of hazards and emergency scenarios, including the aftermath of hurricanes and severe storms.

The teams will primarily operate as chainsaw crews, clearing debris from streets and rights-of-ways. However, they also could assist at emergency supply distribution centers or perform other duties as needs arise.

“Clearing roads is an essential element in relief efforts,” said James Wright, Kentucky Division of Forestry director. “This allows power companies access to their lines and expedites the delivery of critically needed materials and supplies.”

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