September 11, 2018 — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has activated the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) New York Task Force 1 (NY TF-1) team to deploy to North Carolina in support of Hurricane Florence. The US&R NY TF-1 team is managed by the New York City Emergency Management Department and is made up of specially trained personnel from FDNY and NYPD.
New York Task Force 1 specializes in urban search and rescue, disaster recovery, and emergency triage and medicine. The eighty-three member team, along with six canines, departed from New York City Emergency Management's Brooklyn facility to Kinston, North Carolina, where they will pre-stage ahead of potential assignments. The team is deploying with various equipment and tools to support its operations, including eight water rescue boats, motors, items to support rescues from collapsed structures and confined spaces, as well as a compilation of hazardous materials response equipment. The team is expected to arrive in North Carolina on Tuesday night. There are 28 FEMA US&R teams strategically located throughout the United States that can be deployed within six hours of activation.
The FEMA US&R program originated as a response system for natural disasters. Since the program's inception, the task forces have broadened the scope of US&R's work. Two early activations of the US&R system occurred in response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in California. FEMA US&R teams also activated in response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. NY TF-1 deployments include Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008, the Haiti Earthquake and Hurricane Earl in 2010, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, in 2017.
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