A quartet of firefighters from the North Little Rock Fire Department are among dozens of search and rescue personnel from Arkansas on the ground, or on the water as the case may be, to assist with recovery efforts in Houston.
The four North Little Rock firefighters are Capt. Wesley Stephens and lieutenants Josh Burks, Nick Frey, and Matt Matthews.
They are all members of the Arkansas Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue group that has a total of 19 in Texas. The group left Arkansas on Tuesday morning and got to metro Houston that afternoon.
The other task force members include firefighters from Little Rock and Conway along with paramedics from MEMS and members of the Pulaski County Emergency Management office.
They were joined by 18-member strong urban search and rescue group from northwest Arkansas along with a contingent of wildlife officers from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
The personnel are expected to be in Texas anywhere from one to two weeks.
Game and Fish sent a total of 28 wildlife officers.
“Part of being a wildlife officer in Arkansas is helping rescue people during these natural disasters,” said Enforcement Col. Greg Rae. “I have no doubt these officers will make a difference in a lot of people’s lives this week.”
The group also hauled nearly two dozen boats that will help find and rescue those caught up in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.
The officers were sent to the area at the request of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management after Texas asked neighboring states for assistance in recovery operations.
The Internal Revenue Service has issued warnings for people to avoid a scam related to the hurricane.
The IRS issued a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.
“While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, people should be aware of criminals who look to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers,” an IRS news release said. “Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.”
Criminals often send emails that steer recipients to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.
More information about tax scams and schemes may be found at IRS.gov using the keywords “scams and schemes.” Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.