MENLO PARK (CBS SF) – More rescuers from the Bay Area were preparing Moday to go to Texas to help with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, officials with the Silicon Valley Air National Guard said.
California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing are making preparations to go to Texas with about 90 members.
They could leave as early as Monday afternoon, spokesman Roderick Bersamina said.
Already, two water rescue teams from the Bay Area are going to Texas to help with the federal response to the hurricane, which made landfall late Friday in the Houston area as a Category 4 storm, fire officials said.
A team from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District left at 6 p.m. Sunday and as of this morning was about 1,000 miles from Austin, Texas, where they will get their assignments.
As of midday, rescuers in Texas had made 2,211 high-water rescues, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which serves the Houston area.
Federal officials have activated all 28 federal task forces, which include the two Bay Area water rescue teams. Along with Menlo Park, the other Bay Area team is from Oakland.
“This is the most significant national response event since Hurricane Katrina and as such is generating a top shelf federal and state magnitude of water rescue response and supporting resources,” Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement.
The 129th Rescue Wing has gone to Texas before in response to Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Ike and Gustav in 2008.
The wing is made up of Guardian Angel pararescuemen, HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft.
The wing will operate out of Robert Gray Army Airfield in Texas.
Several team members from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District
responded to Hurricane Katrina while others responded to other disasters such as flooding in the Central Valley.
As they left for Texas, the team took five vehicles, 10 boats and three drones with them.
The 129th Rescue Wing has been given credit for saving 1,017 lives since 1977.
A water rescue team from Oakland was briefed this weekend before it was to deploy to Texas, Oakland firefighters said.
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