Bay Area first responders are on standby and waiting for the call to deploy to Florida after Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction along the Gulf Coast.
California Task Force 3 of the Urban Search and Rescue Team based in East Palo Alto is next up in the rotation and could be ready within four to six hours to deploy to Hurricane Ian if called.
“We are fully self sustainable for the length of time we need to be out,” said Jon Johnston with California Task Force 3. “It would also depend on mission objectives, what they want us to do and then we would be able to assimilate that cache to be able to work with those needs.”
California Task Force 3 can send a team of 70 crewmembers to a disaster zone in a matter of hours. The crew is comprised of first responders from agencies stretching from San Francisco down to Monterey County. The team leader said unfortunately the images coming out of Florida are all too familiar to them.
“They are familiar because we have been deployed to Hurricane Katrina and others, where we performed rescues at water and flooding situations,” Johnston said.
The task force this time around has new technology, including a wireless drone-like camera on a pole to be able to look into hard-to-reach places.
There are also over 500 Red Cross volunteers on the ground in Florida, including Tracey Singh from Northern California.
“We have a team that has loaded box trucks with supplies to take to all the shelters to make sure they have all the supplies they need,” Singh said in a phone interview with NBC Bay Area.
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Source: NBC Bay Area