PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Fire Department has received a special designation from FEMA. The PFD will now be in command of Pennsylvania Task Force One – part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response Team.

As one of 28 task forces nationwide, Pennsylvania Task Force One is dispatched to natural disasters in the state, across the nation, even around the world. It is comprised of firefighters from across the state, trained on extricating victims from structural collapses among other things.

“That means everything as related to PA Task Force One actually comes through Philadelphia and we look forward to being responsible for this very integral team,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Congressman Bob Brady of Philadelphia wrote a letter to FEMA in support of the PFD.

“It’s a huge honor for the firefighters in the City of Philadelphia for having FEMA recognize what a great job they do day in and day out. And now they are going to be a lead department if there is a major problem in the state of Pennsylvania. They are going to provide one heck of a safety net.”

So now, the Philadelphia Fire Department will move from Participating Agency status to Sponsoring Agency status -a step up.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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