PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With very little notice and only hours to get ready, dozens of first responders from the Philadelphia region left for Texas overnight to help with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Pennsylvania Task Force One is on a 22-hour drive to the naval base in Fort Worth, Texas. A convoy of tractor trailers, vans, pickup trucks hauling gators and rescue boats are heading to devastation.
“Anything you can think of, they’re gonna have on these trucks. Water, food, anything at all,” said Deputy Fire Commissioner Gary Loesh. “We even have two K-9s going, doctors going, rescue specialists.”
Forty-five first responders from the region, including 20 from the Philadelphia Fire Department, will be working around the clock, according to Loesh.
“Mainly they’ll be doing search and rescue,” he said. “That is their primary cause when they get down there. Any collapsed buildings. We’re sending a lot of water assets so they’ll be out pulling people off the roofs of houses. They’re very apt on getting into heavy concreted buildings that have collapsed or are under water, and they will go in there and search.”
FEMA deploys these task forces and Loesh says they had “no-notice” So, once the call came, the first responders had to tell their families and get their things ready within a matter of four hours. Several firefighters were even on duty in their firehouses when the call came.
This is what is referred to as a Type 3 deployment, which is the second largest kind. If FEMA moves that up to a Type 1, officials here will send 40 more personnel to Texas to help.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) August 26, 2017