MENLO PARK, Calif. (KTVU) - A local task force that set out for Florida in response to Hurricane Irma is set to return to their base of operations in Menlo Park on Sunday.
The 81-person Bay Area Urban Search and Rescue Task Force drove roughly 5,000 miles back and forth across the country to Elgin Air Force Base with 11 vehicles, seven trailers and over 60,000 pounds of search and rescue equipment.
California Task Force 3 deployed in advance expecting to assist with providing highly anticipated aid, as Florida and the rest of the country prepared for catastrophic devastation. Fortunately, the upper areas of the state received minimal damage and the service of the specialized rescue team was not needed.
The task force spent a week across the country. After their services were no longer needed, they mobilized a new group of members – a water rescue team -- to respond to Hurricane Irma. The call came 30 minutes after the water team returned from Hurricane Harvey.
“We’ve never had such a short turn around before with getting one group back in and deploying another,” Fire Chief Schapelhouman said. “Team members either stayed or came in regardless of being deployed or not, and so we had new people serviced, checked vehicles with rehabilitated equipment, and then back on the road in under twelve hours.”
“That’s pretty awesome and huge testament to the type of amazing members that we have on this multi-agency Task Force.”