September 12, 2017
To support the rescue and recovery efforts of Hurricane Irma, highly-trained teams of FDNY members have been deployed to assist and rescue residents in Hurricane Irma affected communities. Three teams have been deployed in response to Hurricane Irma. New York City’s elite Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) New York Task Force-1 which consists of FDNY and NYPD special operations specializing in various forms of rescues, particularly swift water rescues, FDNY’s Incident Management Team (IMT) – a federally trained team of first responders responsible for large-scale and long-duration incidents and emergencies, and DART - a team of active and retired FDNY Firefighters in partnership with the American Red Cross. All teams teams have responded to emergencies worldwide, including most recently to Texas to assist with rescue operations following Hurricane Harvey.
Coordinated and overseen by FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency, and managed by New York City Emergency Management, New York Task Force-1 is comprised of FDNY and NYPD members trained to respond to catastrophic events.
In response to Hurricane Irma, USAR New York Task Force-1 has deployed to Puerto Rico to assist individuals and families affected by the hurricane.
“We are trained in confined space rescue, collapse operations, breaching and breaking, rigging, and high-angle rescue, and we’ll be searching for victims and performing life-saving operations once the Hurricane [Irma] passes through,” says FDNY Battalion Chief James Yakimovich, Rescue Operations, who is the Task Force Leader for the USAR New York Task Force-1 members deploying in response to Hurricane Irma.
FDNY Deputy Medical Director and New York Task Force-1 Medical Director Dr. Nikolaos Alexandrou says, “in a team of two doctors and four Paramedics, our responsibility will be to oversee the medical care of our team, including the canines -we make sure that everyone remains healthy so they can perform their functions and duties appropriately. We have gone through extensive training, including FEMA classes and a medical specialist course which includes drills for confined spaces. We are equipped with medicine for pain management, antibiotics, hydration, and IV fluids, for use in any situation that we deem necessary.”
In addition to New York Task Force-1, 65 FDNY members of FDNY’s IMT have been deployed to Florida for a relief mission following Hurricane Irma.
FDNY’s IMT are federally trained teams of first responders responsible for overseeing large-scale long-duration incidents and emergencies, including forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. The FDNY IMT was developed following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and has responded to multiple national emergencies including to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; to Broome County, NY following Hurricane Irene and here in New York after Hurricane Sandy. The FDNY IMT consists of members from all ranks in the Department with specialized training in incident command, rescue operations, logistics and planning.
In response to Hurricane Irma, DART is working at a shelter in Georgia and on the ground in the Carribbean region.
Created in 1989, the DART program is a partnership between the FDNY and the American Red Cross in Greater New York made up of active and retired Firefighters and fire officers who have generously volunteered their knowledge, experience and compassion to help those affected by disaster. DART's accomplishments to date include more than 100 national disaster relief operations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
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