SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Dozens of Sacramento firefighters traveled to the East Coast Tuesday to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
FEMA activated Sacramento’s specialized rescue team Tuesday afternoon and a caravan of buses and big rigs took them to Oakland where they flew out to North Carolina.
The urban search and rescue members had only six hours from when the call came in to pack up their gear and get on the road. From boots to boats, the team carries all the specialized tools and supplies they need to be self-sufficient.
“We can get in there and basically operate on our own to be able to search, do recon, and actual live rescues if we need to,” Sacramento Fire Captain Brandon Budd said.
Budd and his K9 Josie are among the 45 firefighters and four dogs heading to the storm zone. He said Josie is able to sniff out live victims that may be unconscious or buried under debris.
It’s something Sacramento’s FEMA task force is used to. They have deployed in the past to disasters including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Maria in Puerto Rico.
“We were on the first military jet to land there after the hurricane went through and there were no services, no electricity, no cellphone service, no running water,” Budd said.
The mission is to rescue victims trapped by floodwaters or stranded in homes.
“They will go door to door in areas that have experienced flooding and check on the well being of the occupants of different homes and businesses,” Chief Gary Loesch said.
While these crews are gone, others will work overtime to make sure the Sacramento region still has sufficient personnel during the height of fire season.
“I would never send out a team that would jeopardize the coverage for the citizens of Sacramento,” Loesch said.
The team is expected to stage in Charlotte and will get their rescue assignments Wednesday morning.