MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) — Some Bay Area fire departments are preparing for deployment to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they will help out with rescues as Hurricane Dorian approaches the U.S.
45 team members and three search and recovery dogs from Menlo Park Fire Protection District’s Task Force 3 are leaving Tuesday evening. They’re bringing their cache of around 45,000 pounds of search and rescue equipment with them.
MPFPD’s Task Force 3 was last deployed to assist emergency efforts during the Camp Fire in Paradise in November 2018. They last helped with a hurricane during 2018’s Hurricane Lane in Hilo, Hawaii. The team was also deployed to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida in 2017.
FEMA has also activated the Oakland Fire Department to help with hurricane rescue efforts in Charlotte, particularly swift water rescues. About 45 firefighters from OFD, all part of an elite team of train rescuers, packed up and prepared for deployment.
They left on a flight Tuesday evening out of Oakland International Airport.
“We’re deploying with inflatable boats, with motors, with devices to reach people that are stranded on top of rooftops,” said Nick Luby, Deputy Chief of OFD.
OFD Captain Chris Peters knows what it’s like to be in the eye of the storm; like MPFPD’s Task Force 3, he’s had experience dealing with rescue operations during recent hurricanes.
“Every minute is different,” he said. “It’s stressful, but you’re working with just phenomenal people.”
Peters is speaking about everyone on the team, from doctors to rescue specialists, even including rescue canines like the dog Keno, who is trained to track down people trapped in buildings. He believes the team is ready for whatever Hurricane Dorian brings.
“When we go in, we never know what to expect. We are prepared for the worst. We hope for the best.”
KPIX 5 reporter Christin Ayers contributed to this story.