A search and rescue team with the Los Angeles County Fire Department is heading to North Carolina as Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the East Coast this week.
The 16 member crew left early Tuesday from Whiteman Airport in Pacoima and will be traveling by ground. Members will assist in any major rescues, including swift water rescues. The team is traveling to Raleigh with four boats, rescue supplies and tools, food and water.
L.A. County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina said members of the team train for these kinds of incidents year round and are prepared for anything.
“The morale is high: the potential to be able to save lives, pets, people’s homes. They’re ready to go and highly motivated,” Medina said.
Crews from the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority are also responding to the hurricane. The search and rescue crew was called to duty by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Florence is forecasted to hit the Carolinas Thursday and is expected to cause “life-threatening storm surge, inland flooding, and damaging winds along the Carolinas and Virginia,” according to FEMA, which is calling on residents to heed warnings and evacuation orders.
More than 1 million people are facing mandatory evacuation orders so far in the coastal areas of those states. The storm may strengthen to a category 5 once it makes landfall.
LACoFD’s Urban Search and Rescue team, California Task Force 2 has been activated by FEMA to send a 16 person swift water team to Raleigh, North Carolina. They will be deploying immediately, in advance preparation for hurricane #Florence pic.twitter.com/nrBxQoml2Q
— L.A. County Fire Department (@LACoFDPIO) September 11, 2018
The earliest reasonable time that tropical-storm-force winds could arrive in the United States from #Florence is late Wednesday, and the most likely time is Thursday morning. Wednesday should be the last full day to prepare, so plan accordingly. https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/eD2onAT1sd
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 11, 2018
Hurricane #Florence is forecast to cause life-threatening storm surge, inland flooding, and damaging winds along the Carolinas and Virginia. It's extremely important for everyone in the storm's path to heed warnings and listen to local officials. pic.twitter.com/kAAAX1kTDQ
— FEMA (@fema) September 10, 2018