Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Teams from Pennsylvania head out to help with Hurricane Irma

Bay Area Rescue Teams Head to Mississippi for Hurricane Irma on Heels of Harvey Relief Efforts Cornhusker State lending a hand in South
Howard Terry | 10 September, 2017, 07:57

Mutual aid requests from Florida began this week in preparation of the storm, which is expected to hit landfall early Sunday morning as a Category 4 hurricane.

About one third of the team called up also went to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Support back home helped make the task force's tight turnaround possible, members said.

Still, the logistics of two major missions in a row were "a heavy lift". It is unclear if they will be mobilized and sent back east. "It doesn't matter who goes and who stays because everyone is pitching in", said Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. "There was water in the wheel bearing, so they had to replace that", Despain said.

"We basically stopped what we were doing", Warnock said.

"It was everybody, all hands on deck, pitching in". Euclid Fire Captain Chris Caimi was one of them. A team of 16 just returned from Texas Thursday afternoon.

"It's what we do", Ganger said, adding that about 90 percent of the people on the task force are firefighters. "A little more sleep deprived but I got through it".

The 11 members had arrived by air and are already helping with targeted searches on St. Thomas, with four more members heading there by ferry to help move vehicles and equipment used by the task force.

Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said Irma could easily prove to be the costliest storm in USA history. But because there are other task forces closer to Florida, MO-TF1 is further down the rotation list, so the full team has not been asked to be activated.

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