CA Firefighters Deployed to FL in Search and Rescue Operations

Dozens of local firefighters and skilled civilians have been deployed to a Florida military base to assist with search and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

According to a report in the Palo Alto Daily News, two teams of 82 were sent by truck and bus across the country just 30 minutes after another team of 15 had returned from rescue operations in areas near Houston devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The rapid-fire redeployment was a first for teams of the Menlo Park-based, federally funded California Task Force 3, which has responded to 33 large-scale national emergencies since 1991.

Both hurricanes have claimed the lives of 80 people.

California Task Force 3 is one of 28 urban search and rescue groups that respond to emergencies in the United States and its territories under the leadership of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition to Menlo Park Fire, the task force contains members from 13 local and regional fire agencies, two public agencies, a tech company (Genentech) and a research center (SRI International). An additional 16 unaffiliated civilian professionals took part in the Irma response.

Meantime, residents who live along the East Coast from North Carolina up to New England should monitor Tropical Storm Jose, forecasters say. The storm’s winds won’t get close to land until Sunday or Monday — but it’s expected to become a hurricane today (Friday).

As of Friday morning, Jose had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It was located about 360 miles northeast of the southeastern Bahamas islands, and moving west-northwest at nearly 9 mph, the National Hurricane Center says. The storm is expected to turn northward on Friday or Saturday.

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect for Jose, but the storm is expected to bring “high surf and life-threatening rip currents along portions of the U.S. East Coast,” the hurricane center warns.