Eighty-three members of the NYPD and FDNY and six canines were deployed to Kinston, North Carolina, from the NYC Emergency Management warehouse in Brooklyn on Tuesday.“These folks are putting themselves in harm’s way to help fellow Americans, and we thank them so much for that,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.
The group is part of the Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force One, which operates under the direction of FEMA. They specialize in search and rescues in urban settings, disaster recovery and emergency triage and medicine. They want to be in place when the monster storm hits, possibly as a Category 4, to assist local emergency response teams.
“We have 19 different disciplines on this team. We’re capable of doing any kind of technical rescue … we have quite a bit of experience on this team,” said the task force’s leader, FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Downey. “They’re going to pre-position us and get us in the area of where the storm is going to hit, and then they’ll move us to wherever we’re needed,” he added.
The team is bringing eight water rescue boats, motors and materials to help retrieve people from collapsed structures or confined spaces. They’re expected to reach North Carolina by Tuesday evening, about two days before the storm is set to hit. “We’re first res ponders. Whether we’re Fire or PD, we’re always there to help people in the city, or somewhere else,” Downey said.