California Sends Additional Urban Search and Rescue Teams to Support Hurricane Irma Response

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. has approved the additional deployment of Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 3 (CA-TF3) and Task Force 8 (CA-TF8) through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to aid the response to Hurricane Irma.

During the deployment, California personnel will use their highly-developed skills to assist emergency operations in and around the hardest hit areas of the state, conducting search and rescue operations.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Flo., has issued a Hurricane Watch and Storm Surge Watch for portions of South Florida and the Florida Keys. Governor Rick Scott has also declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties anticipation of the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

CA-TF3 consists of 80 personnel from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District and CA-TF8 consists of 80 personnel from the San Diego City Fire Rescue Department. Both Task Forces recently returned to California from Hurricane Harvey and will be joining the Hurricane Irma response efforts.

These teams are two of eight State/Federal US&R Task Forces in California that is a highly-specialized search and rescue unit that can perform in heavy reinforced masonry structures, handle heavy rigging, specialized search functions and operate in swiftwater/flood environments. Earlier today, California sent CA-TF1 (Los Angeles Fire Department), CA-TF4 (Oakland Fire Department) and members of a US&R Incident Support Team to assist with the response to Hurricane Irma.

Since 1992, California-based US&R Task Forces have been deployed to a long list of state, national, and international disasters including the 1992 Hurricane Iniki, 1994 Northridge Earthquake, 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon Terrorist Attacks, 2004 Hurricane Charlie, 2004 Hurricane Frances, 2004 Hurricane Ivan, 2005 Hurricane Katrina, 2005 Hurricane Rita, 2007 Hurricane Gustav, 2007 Hurricane Ike, 2012 Hurricane Sandy, 2010 Haiti Earthquake, 2011 Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and the 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

Cal OES continues to monitor operations for both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma and requests for assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) process from the Southern United States region. EMAC, which includes the participation of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a nationally recognized mutual-aid system that provides the foundation for states to request and send resources across their borders when impacted by a disaster.

For more information, follow these links: Cal OES Special OperationsCal OES Urban Search & Rescue Task ForcesEMACFlorida Division of Emergency Management and Cal OES newsroom.


Related Story:

California Sends Urban Search and Rescue Teams to Support Hurricane Irma Response 


Photo: U.S. Navy

Monica Vargas

Monica is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and 2017 winter storms. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in international affairs, technology operations and executive staff support.

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