Photos courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
Fifteen members of the Long Beach Fire Department’s (LBFD) Swiftwater Rescue Task Force left Long Beach this afternoon to help those impacted by the severe weather and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the City of Long Beach announced today.
Task Force members are specifically trained in skills that are in critical demand following the devastation caused by the hurricane in southeastern Texas, such as technical search operations and water based rescue techniques.
“I spoke with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today and pledged that the City of Long Beach would do everything it could to assist the people of Houston,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “I’m really proud of our Fire Department and the rescue team heading out today.”
— Long Beach Fire (CA) (@lbfd) August 31, 2017
Long Beach Fire personnel will be deployed for an unknown duration dependant on the evolving needs of the incident. The request for their assistance was made through the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) which is a mutual aid agreement between all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. EMAC was ratified by the US Congress in 1996 under Public Law 104-321, according to the release.
Through the agreement, states are able to share resources during times of emergency and/or disaster. The LBFD Swiftwater Rescue Task Force was one of two teams selected by CalOES for this particular mission. They’re estimated to arrive within the next 24 hours, with their own rescue equipment in tow.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families that are dealing with the profound loss and tragedy associated with Hurricane Harvey,” Fire Chief Mike DuRee said in a statement. “We stand ready to assist those in need.”
The Task Force consists of two rescue teams: a Task Force Leader, a Task Force Leader Trainee, and a Search Team Manager oversees the teams. Within each team there is a Boat Operator, Rescue Swimmer, Technical Search Specialist, Logistics Specialist, and a Medical Specialist. A Ropes and Rigging Specialist and Communications Specialist are shared between both teams to maximize the capabilities of the task force.