Keller Fire Capt. Shane Gainer returned home to Keller after several days of assisting with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Gainer, a 21-year veteran of the Keller Fire Department, and five other members of Texas Task Force 1 responded to the call they received on Monday, Oct. 29 and were ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“We got the call at 4 p.m., and we were on the road by 5:36 p.m.,” said Capt. Gainer. “We got (to College Station), caught a few hours of sleep and headed out the next morning.”
Gainer and his team drove vehicles loaded with equipment to the relief sites in need of support. The fire captain worked at several forts in New Jersey, Queens and Staten Island, assisting incident support teams with plans and logistics.
“We supplied them with anything from (communications) equipment to replenishing their food, (Meals Ready-to-Eat) and water," said Gainer. “It was very long days and very short nights.”
The fire captain said some areas of New York seemed like normal, "everyday business” while he was driving through them. However, he also heard reports of cars in some areas that were buried beneath sand.
Capt. Gainer believes he returned on Friday, Nov. 9, although he laughed when he noted that all of the days “ran together” after his incredibly busy 12-day deployment. The fire captain is currently taking a well-deserved week off and will return to shift next week.
A member of Texas Task Force 1 since 2001, Gainer began his work with the urban response team as a specialist and started handling logistics in 2008. During his previous deployments, he has assisted with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Dean, Dolly, Edouard, Ike, Alex and Isaac.
In 2008, Gainer was deployed to Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. He has also served on a standby team during Super Bowl XLV and assisted with the 2011 Bastrop wildfires.
In 2011, Gainer received the Keller Fire-Rescue “Life Saving” Award. He is a professional fire officer, field examiner, firefighter and paramedic.
“The Keller Fire Department is proud of the service Capt. Gainer provides to the citizens of Keller, as well as his service outside of the community as a member of Texas Task Force 1,” said interim Keller Fire Chief David Jones. “The training and knowledge he has gained through Urban Search and Rescue missions throughout the country has had an impact on how we do business here in Keller. Capt. Gainer is a pivotal member of the rescue community, and we look forward to supporting his activities into the future.”