Brentwood Fire & Rescue’s Swift Water Team Returns From Houston
The Brentwood Fire & Rescue Department Swift Water Team returned from Houston, TX following a six-day deployment to help with rescue efforts post Hurricane Harvey. The Tennessee Task Force demobilized and returned home late Tuesday, September 5. The Brentwood Fire team was one of 91 Tennessee teams that created the Tennessee Task led by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Tennessee Association of Fire Chiefs’ Mutual Aid Network.
Brentwood Fire Engineer John Russ, who was a member of the team said, “While there is still so much to be done with regards to relief efforts in Houston, Hurricane Irma now has her eye on the eastern seaboard and many agencies like us, could once again be called upon to assist in the coming days.”
During the first two days of the deployment, the task force worked in an area southwest of Houston to provide support to rural areas and were staged at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds where they were required to be completely self-sufficient. Williamson County and TEMA provided communication and logistical needs throughout the deployment. Russ said, “We relied on cots and tents we had brought with us. The community also showed so much appreciation to all the responders with a steady flow of food and bottled water. We really appreciate their hospitality while we were there.”
On Saturday morning, crews worked directly with the Houston Fire Department conducting welfare checks on residents who chose to shelter in place. Russ explained, “Several residents were very tired of the dilapidated living conditions after the hurricane, so we were able to help evacuate several people ready to leave.” Later Brentwood joined efforts with local partners like the Franklin Fire Department, Knoxville Fire Department, and Williamson County Sherriff’s Office to form Strike Team 15. This specialized group checked several homes and structures for damage. The teams documented residents who chose to stay and remain sheltered in place, and evacuated individuals by boat from flooded subdivisions and apartment complexes.
The remainder of the deployment, the Tennessee Task Force broke into two teams and conducted several welfare checks and performed evacuations of residents on the west side of Houston. Rescue boats and crews from Tennessee were in water for the majority of the day assisting residents.
Brentwood’s Hurricane Harvey Response Team Photo: From left to Right, Engineer/ Paramedic Jason Pierce, Lieutenant/ Advanced-EMT Nick Adams, Battalion Chief/ Paramedic Scott Ellis, Engineer/ Paramedic John Russ, Firefighter/ Advanced-EMT Jeremy Keopf, and Lieutenant/ Advanced-EMT Derek Hyde