On Tuesday, Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis announced that Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 3 (Tampa) and Task Force 5 (Jacksonville) will be deployed on Thursday to provide life-saving equipment and resources following the impacts of Hurricane Sally in the Panhandle.
US&R Task Force 3 and 5 consists of nearly 100 highly trained fire service personnel. Personnel from each team will undergo COVID-19 testing before deployment. The teams possess swift-water capabilities and are prepared to partner with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida National Guard for lifesaving missions. US&R Task Force 7 (Tallahassee) is also on standby for possible deployment if necessary.
“With Hurricane Sally bringing massive storm surge and flooding to parts of the Panhandle this week, we have mobilized Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces 3 and 5 in support of the recovery efforts following this storm. These dedicated and highly trained first responders will bring lifesaving equipment and resources to support these communities following what is likely to be a large-scale flooding event. I’m encouraging all Floridians to take this storm seriously, heed all advisories and take the necessary precautions to remain safe immediately. Visit PrepareFL.com for disaster preparedness information and tips to help ensure you, your family, and your home are prepared,” Patronis said on Wednesday.
Urban Search & Rescue Task Force Capabilities
• Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
• Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines
• Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials.
• Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings
• Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations
• Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
• Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings
• Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment
• Search and rescue operations in a water environment