California to provide disaster relief personnel for Kentucky disaster

By Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].
Governor Gavin Newsom, through the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) approved the deployment of California-based Urban Search and Rescue Resources (US&R?) to assist the state of Kentucky due to a swarm of tornadoes that has left at least 70 people dead and a trail of destruction that stretched more than 200 miles.

This is at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The California personnel deploying to the region come from two of the eight state and national Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces based in the state of California. 

In a statement issued by Cal OES, it was noted that, at this time, two IST members from California-FEMA US&R Task Force 7 - City of Sacramento Fire Department - and California-FEMA US&R Task Force 5 - Orange County Fire Authority - are deploying to Kentucky. 

These specialists will use their skills and experience in disaster response to assist in the coordination of state and national US&R teams conducting search and rescue operations, the document states.

It also notes that Cal OES will continue to monitor operations and resource requests.

Who is US&R

The deployed personnel are part of the US&R National Response System and the State Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System.   

There are 28 National Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces within the continental United States, with eight located in the state of California. 

In California, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, Fire and Rescue, Special Operations Branch coordinates the California US&R Program.

Other FEMA state task forces based in California include:

  • CA Task Force 1 Los Angeles City Firefighters
  • CA Task Force 2 Los Angeles County Firefighters
  • CA Task Force 3 Menlo Park Fire Protection District
  • CA Task Force 4 Oakland Fire Department
  • CA Task Force 5 Orange County Fire Authority
  • CA Task Force 6 City of Riverside Fire Department
  • CA Task Force 7 Sacramento City Fire Department
  • CA Task Force 8 San Diego Fire - Rescue Department

Since 1992, California-based US&R Task Forces and/or US&R overhead personnel have deployed to numerous state, national and international disasters, including Hurricane Iniki 1992, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In addition to supporting in the 2004 hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Ivan, 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Dennis, 2007 Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, 2008 Hurricane Dolly, 2010 Haiti Earthquake, 2011 Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, 2011 Hurricane Irene, 2012 Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy , the 2014 Oso landslide disaster in Washington State, the 2014 Colorado floods, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2017 Mexico City earthquake, and Hurricanes Earl, Mathew, Harvey, Maria (2017), Irma, lane, Olivia, and Michael.

US&R involves the location, rescue, extraction, and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. 

Urban search and rescue is considered a "multi-hazard" discipline, as it may be required for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases.

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