California Rescue Teams Head to East Coast to Help With Hurricane Relief

September 13, 2018 Updated: September 13, 2018

Firefighters from Los Angeles, Sacramento and Orange counties have departed for the East Coast where Hurricane Florence was expected to hit this week.

The Los Angeles Fire Department deployed a 16-member Urban Search and Rescue Team to Bowling Green, Virginia on Sept. 11. A Los Angeles County swift-water rescue team was also dispatched to Raleigh, North Carolina.

In addition, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) has sent two 16-member water rescue teams to the East Coast in response to the hurricane.

“We were wondering how much more we could give while leaving a sufficient number here,” OCFA Capt. Tony Bommarito said at a meeting on Wednesday. “About the only thing they could offer is a couple of search dogs and their handlers.”

An Urban Search & Rescue Team from Sacramento named CA-Task Force 7 has also been deployed to join the effort. Rescue teams were equipped with boats, rescue supplies and gears along with water and food. Some of the teams are expected to stay up to ten days.

“They’re gonna go home to home, door to door, in their boats, looking for victims,” said Captain Keith Wade with Sacramento Fire Department. “The responders’ sole mission when they get there is they hit the ground, they start doing grid-type searches, which is like looking, going to the neighborhoods, if it’s flooded, which is what they’re expecting here.”

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Florence is expected to approach and move slowly southwest along the Carolina coastline from Thursday night into Saturday. Its slow movement would bring a “persistent, life-threatening storm surge.” Rainfall could be as high as 40 inches.

Fox contributed to this report