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State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Deploys Miami-Based Urban Search & Rescue Task Team to Panhandle

9/16/2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Late Tuesday evening, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management, mobilized Miami-based Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 2. The US&R Team will be deployed today to provide life-saving equipment and resources following the impacts of Hurricane Sally in the Panhandle. The CFO also announced that a portion of Task Force 8, based in Marion County, is joining the Florida National Guard for helicopter search and rescue missions.

CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Hurricane Sally is projected to bring historic storm surge and flooding to parts of the Western Panhandle. I have mobilized Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue teams throughout the state to save lives. These dedicated and highly trained first responders will bring lifesaving equipment and resources to support these communities following likely life-threatening flooding. Floridians must take this storm seriously, heed all advisories and take the necessary precautions to avoid dangerous flood waters.”

On Tuesday morning, the CFO mobilized Task Force 3 (Tampa) and 5 (Jacksonville) to aid in storm response. First responders from each team underwent COVID-19 testing before deployment. The teams possess swift-water capabilities and are prepared to partner with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida National Guard for lifesaving missions. US&R Task Force 7 (Tallahassee) is also on standby for possible deployment if necessary.  

Urban Search & Rescue Task Force Capabilities
 
• Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
• Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines
• Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials. 
• Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings
• Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations
• Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
• Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings
• Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment
• Search and rescue operations in a water environment 
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