Pagers to the Rescue

Several weeks ago, major flooding occurred throughout Texas and, coincidentally, Senior Construction Administrator Casey England and Structural Engineering Director Brad Cheshire, from the Page Austin and Dallas offices respectively, were both called to the same scene to search for those in need of help. Casey and Brad are both members of emergency search and rescue teams and their professional skills have proven to be important assets in these efforts.

Casey has been a member of Texas Task Force 1, a state and federal search and rescue team, for nine years. He specializes in technical search techniques such as the use of cameras in hard-to-reach places like voids in rubble. Casey became involved in search and rescue approximately 13 years ago when someone observed him working with his dog and suggested they consider participating in wilderness search and rescue efforts. His extensive experience as a member of a search and rescue team has given him many opportunities to help those in need, including victims of the fires in Bastrop, Texas; Hurricane Ike; and, most recently, the floods in Wimberley.

To help others understand how deployment can be executed for an actual search and rescue event, Casey uses the Wimberley flood as an example. As rivers in the Texas "Flash Flood Alley" began rising and weather forecasts called for continued heavy rain systems, Casey's team was sent to a staging area a safe distance from the region. The night the Blanco River rose more than 30 feet in three hours and flooded the town of Wimberley, the team was awakened at 2:30am on a Sunday and departed for the scene at 4:30 am. They remained on the job for an additional five days, departing the following Friday. 

Brad became involved in search and rescue efforts four years ago after the North Texas Structural Engineering Association explained to members that in situations like Hurricane Ike, coastal building officials had to evacuate. As a result, there was a need to train North Texas structural engineers as Post Disaster Damage Assessors. At the completion of his training for this volunteer role, Brad was recruited by Texas Task Force 2 as a structures specialist.  His analytical abilities, augmented with a training regime that took over a year to complete, have made him a valuable member of Texas Task Force 2, a state search and rescue team. The effort after the flooding in Wimberley was Brad's first deployment and first opportunity to put some of his extensive training to use. 

As Casey and the other Task Force 1 personnel were departing Wimberley on that Friday, Brad and Task Force 2 had arrived on the scene and were beginning their first day of search operations.  They remained for a full week, departing the following Friday. Brad’s structural specialist skills were called upon to assist a search squad in safely accessing an area of interest beneath a pile of debris. He also handled various other actions from facilitating Task Force radio communications, to hiking along the river in a search squad, to assisting in the planning of the Task Force’s daily activities.  

Employers typically also participate in this effort by supporting their employees during their service to the search and rescue teams, as Page does. We are very proud of Casey and Brad for using their skills to benefit those in dire need of help.

Contributed By

Casey England & Brad Cheshire