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Back From Texas, San Diego Urban Search And Rescue Team Heads To Florida

The heavy rains and wind of hurricane Irma cross through the northeastern par...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The heavy rains and wind of hurricane Irma cross through the northeastern part of the island in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.

Back From Texas, San Diego Urban Search And Rescue Team Now Heads To Florida

GUEST:

Chris Webber, assistant chief, San Diego Fire Department

Transcript

UPDATE: 10:00 a.m., Sept. 11, 2017

Many of the members of a San Diego-based Urban Search and Rescue Team that just returned from storm-ravaged Houston are now in Florida, where Hurricane Irma has made landfall and remains a Category 1 hurricane over the northwest portion of the state.

Eighty-one members of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 8, based in San Diego, are stationed at Eglin Air Force base, on the western end of the Florida panhandle. Part of the team arrived Saturday night on commercial flights and the rest were anticipated to arrive Sunday night in a truck convoy, the San Diego Fire Department posted Monday morning on Facebook.

The team just returned to San Diego on Thursday after spending six days in the Houston area performing searches, providing medical aid and evaluating damaged structures.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Courtesy of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department

San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Lozano with his wife Tanya, 2-year-old Olivia and 8-week-old Elaria after returning home from Houston, Texas, Sept. 7, 2017.

"They train year round and maintain a high level of readiness in order to respond wherever their unique training and skills are needed," said Brian Fennessy, chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, which contributed 24 members. "It's important to note that their time at home may be short-lived."

RELATED: San Diego Rescue Team To Return From Texas After Helping Harvey Victims

Fire Department spokeswoman Monica Munoz told City News Service that the Florida team will include a mix of those who went to Houston with some new members. The team can draw from a pool of 210 firefighters from 21 agencies and organizations in the county, she said.

Irma made landfall twice in Florida Sunday and hit the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm. The hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning, after knocking out power to six millions Floridians. As of Monday morning, at least four deaths were reported in Florida and at least 27 across the Caribbean.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Courtesy of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department

Rescuers with the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 8 wade through flooded streets in Houston, Texas in this undated photo.

Around 45 Red Cross workers from San Diego and Imperial counties are deployed across Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands, chapter spokeswoman Emily Cox said.

"Some of the people who have been in Texas and Louisiana are coming up on two weeks on the ground, so they will be brought home and new people will go to replace them," Cox told City News Service. "We also are going to be sending more to Florida over the weekend and next week."

More than 100 local Red Cross volunteers will probably be deployed over the course of the recovery, she said.

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