Roanoke Valley swift-water rescue team heads down to Texas

The 19-member team will spend at least 8 days in areas affected by flooding

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – A swift-water tactical team from the Roanoke area is heading down to Texas to offer support to the victims of flooding. The team is made up of 19 members from Franklin County, Roanoke County, the city of Salem and the city of Roanoke.

The crew got the call to respond to Texas at 5:30 Wednesday afternoon. They're headed to a staging area in College Station, Texas, and they're bringing their own food to eat and their own tents to sleep in if necessary.

Roanoke Fire Chief David Hoback said this team has several different specialists that can provide all kinds of support to the overwhelmed crews in some of the hardest hit regions by Hurricane Harvey.

"Hazmat technicians going, swift-water technicians going, heavy tactical technicians, paramedics. Good skill set going so that we can take care of any situation. We've done this before as far as E-MAC deployments. We've gone to Louisiana, we've gone to Florida when hurricanes have hit, and but this is a unique circumstance because of the amount of devastation we're going to probably encounter," Hoback said.

Hoback says the crew is preparing to spend eight days in the greater Houston area, but that could be extended, depending on how much help is needed.

The crews are prepared to drive for 18 hours through the morning, stop at a hotel, and then complete the journey. They're expected to make it to the staging area by Thursday night.