California deploys Urban Search & Rescue personnel to Louisiana as Hurricane Barry Approaches the Gulf Coast

Governor Gavin Newsom, through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), has approved the deployment of Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task force members who are being pre-positioned in Baton Rouge with other US&R resources in anticipation of Hurricane Barry’s landfall. 

The US&R-trained firefighters are part of four California-based state/national US&R Task Forces (California US&R Task Force 3, Menlo Park Fire Protection District; California US&R Task Force 5, Orange County Fire Authority; California US&R Task Force 7, Sacramento Fire Department; and California US&R Task Force 8, San Diego Fire Department). They will serve on a coordination element of the National US&R Response System known as a US&R Incident Support Team, pre-positioned in Baton Rouge with Texas US&R Task Force 1 and other federal assets in support of Louisiana.

Throughout the deployment, these specialists will use their highly-developed knowledge, skills and disaster response experience to assist in the coordination of state/federal US&R teams conducting search and rescue operations in support of Louisiana.

During the hurricane seasons of 2017 and 2018, Cal OES coordinated the deployment of all eight California-based state/national US&R Task Forces collectively to North Carolina for Hurricane Florence; Texas for Hurricane Harvey; to Alabama and Florida for Hurricane Irma; to Hawaii for Hurricanes Lane and Olivia; to Florida for Hurricane Michael; and to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for Hurricane Maria (concurrent to hurricane search & rescue operations in the U.S., California US&R Task Force 2, L.A. County Fire Department, also was deployed to the Mexico City earthquake, known as the Puebla earthquake, in September 2017).

Since 1992, California-based US&R Task Forces and/or overhead personnel have been deployed to numerous other state, national, and international disasters including Hurricane Iniki (1992), the 1994 Northridge earthquake, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 2004 Hurricanes Charlie, Frances, and Ivan, 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Dennis, 2007 Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, 2008 Hurricane Dolly, 2010 Haiti Earthquake, 2011 Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, 2011 Hurricane Irene, 2012 Hurricane Sandy, 2014 Oso landslide disaster in Washington State, 2014 flooding in Colorado, 2015 Nepal Earthquake, and 2016 Hurricanes Earl and Mathew.

Additional resources

Cal OES Special Operations

State/National Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces

National Weather Service

National Hurricane Center


Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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