Bay Area strike and rescue teams, PG&E crews help with Hurricane Irma

- Crews from around the world, including the Bay Area, are deploying first responders and strike teams to help those in the path of Hurricane Irma, which barrelled through the eastern Caribbean.

Teams from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, the Alameda County Strike team, Oakland's Urban Search and Rescue Team Task 4, and PG&E are all hopping on flights to help in the Caribbean and Virgin Islands.

As of Thursday morning, the Category 5 hurricane had killed at least 10 people, the Associated Press reported.

The hardest hit areas were the eastern Caribbean islands, leveling a small island called Barbuda, and lashing at Puerto Rico.

On Thursday morning, the hurricane was heading toward the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Hurricane watchers were wondering whether the hurricane will hit Florida by the weekend - it all depends they say, on where and when the hurricane turns.

Residents of Puerto Ricos' Antigua and Barbuda were left homeless and powerless. Reports were that at least one million people were without power.

That's why crews at Travis Air Force Base had sent a small team from the 821st Contingency Response Group, which is part of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, to conduct a site survey of the airfield on the island in preparation for additional response personnel. And the 60th Medical Group also planned to send medical equipment, such as the Enroute Patient Staging System, and critical care air transport teams, according base spokeswoman Lyndsey Horn.

In Oakland, the Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 4 team, who just returned from Texas after Hurricane Harvey, is also deploying to Florida on Thursday morning after they pick up their gear on Coliseum Way.

Also, 100 line workers, equipment operators and other PG&E crews are heading to Florida to help with any downed power lines should the hurricane strike there.

In addition, Carl Kustin, a former veteran and retired Battalion Chief with the San Mateo Fire Department and founding member of Task Force 3, will be responding to Hurricane Irma as part of an advance FEMA Incident Support Team. He will be flying into Tallahassee Florida Thursday morning.

 

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