Sacramento, CA–At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana, Governor Gavin Newsom Sunday approved the deployment of urban search and rescue (US&R) specialized personnel to the region to assist in life-saving disaster response.
California maintains robust search and rescue resources within the state and the deployment does not draw from resources in use to combat wildfires.
“As we manage the ongoing emergency response to wildfires and support impacted communities, California is carefully assessing and balancing resources to answer the call to aid our fellow Americans in a time of great need, as we have so often received support ourselves in recent years,” said Governor Newsom.
Part of the National US&R Response System, administered in California by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the Oakland-based California/FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force-4 will join with US&R Incident Support Specialists to assist with search and rescue operations for Hurricane Ida, which is currently a strong Category 4 hurricane.
The California/FEMA US&R Task Force being deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana today is based in the Oakland Fire Department, with participation from several surrounding fire agencies. The “Type 3” task force being deployed includes 35 members and 10 ground support personnel. The personnel is trained and equipped to provide water rescues and technical and canine search, rescue, medical, and other specialized capabilities at the disaster.
In total, FEMA has requested and deployed 15 Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces from other states to the Gulf Coast through the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System.
Governor Newsom and Cal OES have also approved the deployment of several California-based US&R Incident Support Team members to help coordinate search and rescue operations across the Gulf Coast hurricane impact zone. The Urban Search and Rescue-trained firefighters deployed from California to the Incident Support Team are members of various California/FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces (California US&R Task Force 1, Los Angeles Fire Department; California US&R Task Force 3, Menlo Park Fire Protection District; and California US&R Task Force 7, Sacramento Fire Department.)
The deployment comes 16 years after the rescue capabilities of all eight California/FEMA US&R Task Forces were deployed to conduct search and rescue operations across the flooded city of New Orleans, Louisiana, when Hurricane Katrina struck, with the simultaneous deployment of California-based US&R Team members to the adjoining and hard-hit state of Mississippi.