FEMA Task Force Teams have been deployed to NC
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper meets with his team to discuss Hurricane Florence preparations and emergency procedures. From left, Director of Emergency Management Michael Sprayberry, Governor Cooper and Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks. Photo courtesy of Governor Roy Cooper.
A 16-member task force team, based in Ohio, deployed an urban search and rescue “package” to Kinston on Tuesday.
Ohio Task Force 1 left Kettering, Ohio around 8 a.m. Tuesday and is expected to reach Kinston by 6 p.m.
The “Water Ready Package” allows urban search and rescue resources to establish an operations near or in a water environment, according to an OTF1 press release.
The team will include a water rescue manager, two water rescue squad officers, four boat operators, five water rescue specialists, logistics and medical specialists (one each) and two support specialists.
A New York Task Force team is also heading to Kinston to help with Hurricane Florence.
Eighty-three members of the NYPD and FDNY along with six canines have been deployed to Kinston. The New York team left from the NYC Emergency Management warehouse in Brooklyn early Tuesday.
“These folks are putting themselves in harm’s way to help fellow Americans, and we thank them so much for that,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.
The group, which operates under the direction of FEMA, is part of the Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force One. They specialize in search and rescues in urban settings, disaster recovery and emergency triage and medicine.
Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) teams are coordinated and overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Urban Search and Rescue Response System (US&R) consists of 28 advanced task forces spread throughout the United States trained and equipped by FEMA to handle structural collapse.
Thus far, US&R teams from New York, Vermont, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska and Texas have been deployed to the North Carolina Emergency Management Eastern Branch, which is located at the Global TransPark in Kinston.
US&R members are the most highly trained first responders the nation has to offer. Their special skills, equipment and techniques allow them to work in extremely dangerous conditions, from natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, to domestic terrorist incidents.
Because US&R is considered a Rapid Reaction Force, FEMA requires that each task force be ready within six hours notice for dispatch to anywhere in the country and that they be self-sufficient during the first 72 hours of any emergency response.
Urban search and rescue is considered a “multi-hazard” discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms, tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases. The events may be slow in developing, as in the case of hurricanes, or sudden, as in the case of earthquakes.