File-Indiana Task Force 1

Indiana's Task Force 1 receives a briefing before going to Kentucky to help with deadly flooding.

(The Center Square) – Indiana has sent two teams of specialists to assist Kentuckians in search and rescue operations following record flooding in the state

Indiana Task Force 1, is an urban search and rescue group jointly sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. TF1 deployed two 16-member Mission Ready Package Water teams to Southeastern Kentucky. The teams are specialists in top water and swift water rescue. 

Heavy rains have caused flooding throughout eastern Kentucky. Power outages are widespread. 

“This is an ongoing, natural disaster. We are in the midst of it and for some places, it is going to continue through tonight with the possibility of more rain in the days to come,” Kentucky Gov. Beshear said in a statement. “We urge everyone to continue to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe.”

Beshear added, “Unfortunately, we expect the fatality number to rise to double-digits, which is heartbreaking and something we rarely see. This is going to take time.”

This deployment of Task Force 1 includes 31 firefighters and one police officer. The team is equipped with two aluminum boats with outboard motors and two inflatable boats, among other gear, according to the TF1 Twitter page. 

The task force will join other rescue resources already deployed, including UH-60 Black Hawks from the Kentucky National Guard that are performing rooftop rescues, and zodiac boats provided by the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources. 

The team was expected to arrive in Kentucky late Thursday. A timetable for their return has not been announced. 

Previous deployments of the task force have included rescue efforts after the Champlain Tower apartment building collapse in Florida and the collapse of a candle factory following a tornado in Kentucky, both in 2021.

The task force also responded in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the World Trade Center attack in 2001 and tornado events in Lafayette, Evansville, Henryville and Indianapolis.

Information on the length and cost of the deployment was not immediately available from FEMA.