By Angi Gonzalez | NY1.com |
A A task force of specially-trained members of the NYPD and FDNY is being deployed to North Carolina in advance of Hurricane Florence.
New York Task Force 1 specializes in urban search and rescue, and disaster recovery. The team of 83 first responders, including six rescue dogs, can deploy in less than six hours.
They gathered at a New York City Emergency Management building in Brooklyn on Tuesday before leaving the city.
“We’ve deployed 17 vehicles including tractor trailers, box trucks, pickup trucks, and vans and they are transporting our members’ equipment,” said Joe Esposito, a commander with NYC Emergency Management.
The team has prior experience working the wake of hurricanes. It’s been deployed following more than a half-dozen in recent history, and members are trained in 19 different types of rescue disciplines.
“Some of the equipment we’re sending is rescue boats, motors, rescue equipment for collapsed structures, rope equipment for confined rescues as well as a full hazmat set up,” said Esposito.
The team has also helped with search and rescue following the earthquake in Haiti, the Oklahoma City bombing, and terror attacks at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
“We had approximately 40 guys from our team that we’re killed on 9/11,” said FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey. “It is a significant day, and we’re proud to go down and follow their legacies.”
Once in North Carolina, the team will get its assignment and then wait to see what happens.
Hurricane Florence, as of this writing, was a Category 4 storm, packing winds up to 140 mph. It’s headed for the mid-Atlantic coast and is expected to make landfall Thursday.
The search and rescue team is being sent to Kinston, North Carolina.
Mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, including the entire coast of South Carolina.
Florence could be the strongest hurricane to hit the Carolinas in 60 years.