LEXINGTON, Okla. - The Oklahoma National Guard has not received a formal call to assist recovery efforts in Texas, but we're told they are keeping their rescue skills sharp should they need to assist.
"We have aviation assets that can do hoist operations... if there are fires of some sort, we have water bucket drops with aviation, just carrying things," Staff Sergeant Christopher Bruce said.
Over the weekend, Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston locales, pummeling some areas with as much as two feet of water. Many streets are now underwater.
"The Houston Fire Department to date in the last 24 hours, we've responded to 5,500 calls for service. Over 4,000 of those calls have been water related incidents," said Chief Samuel Pena.
Overall, more than 1,000 people had to be rescued overnight while the storm dumped anywhere from 15 to 30 inches of rain across southeast Texas.
"That's our number one priority, is getting to people in the city of Houston who may remain in their homes in stressful situations, and we want to get to them today. That's our goal is to reach everyone today," said Houston mayor Sylvester Turner in a press conference Monday.
As of Monday, there has been no formal request for Oklahoma's Natural Guard to help with efforts in Texas. Regardless, we're told training in preparation is crucial.
One Blackhawk crew executed a practice hoist operation on Monday at the National Guard center in Lexington.
"Whether they're hoisting inside of water like a water rescue, or in the woods or in the fields, I've seen them take people off rooftops for training," Staff Sergeant Bruce said.
If the Oklahoma National Guard was called to Texas, Warrant Officer 3 Jon Welsh said their main role would be to assist the state and local agencies in any capacity. Welsh, Bob Moore Chopper 4 pilot, said that's why proper training is crucial.
"At this point, we'll stage some checks we have to do prior to deploying or going down range if you will so, at this point, we'll just get the aircraft ready, some of the equipment necessary to get reseeded," Welsh said. "One of the benefits of being a local guard member is you can actually help your local citizens where an active duty doesn't get to do that."
Bruce said the call for help could come at a moment's notice but they are ready.
"What's cool about the National Guard is these guys are going to be in the same unit for a long time. These guys have been in the same unit for 10, 20 years. They know what each other is thinking at this point," he said.