Back From Texas, San Diego Urban Search And Rescue Team Heads To Florida
Friday, September 8, 2017
Credit: Associated Press
Back From Texas, San Diego Urban Search And Rescue Team Now Heads To Florida
Chris Webber, assistant chief, San Diego Fire Department
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.
"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."
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.
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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