OC Firefighters head to Texas to assist in Hurricane Harvey search and rescue

- A group of Orange County firefighters left Irvine for Texas on Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey making landfall as others in Southern California remained on standby.

The task force, composed of 45 firefighters from the Orange County Fire Authority and Anaheim and Orange fire departments, is trained for search and rescue in a disaster environment, according to the fire authority's Capt. Larry Kurtz.

"They have the ability to perform wide area searches, render medical care, perform rescues in static or swift water, and assess hazardous materials situations,'' Kurtz said. "..The purpose of these task forces is to provide
additional support to local first responder agencies.''

The task force departed after midnight, headed for the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The 1,350-mile drive will take approximately 18 to 20 hours, according to Kurtz.

"Task Force 5 is comprised of highly trained individuals from the OCFA and our cooperating agencies, and are always prepared to respond to disasters locally, statewide, and nationally,'' said Battalion Chief Mike Petro who is the task force's program manager. "We are ready to assist the citizens of Texas with our personnel, equipment and expertise.''

The task force should be in place before hurricane Harvey makes landfall on Saturday, Kurtz said.

A LAFD task force was on standby behind another unit from the Oakland area, said Los Angeles firefighter Wes Schroeder.

Six task forces have been sent to Texas from around the country.

The slow-moving storm is expected to produce large amounts of rainfall, increasing the danger of flooding.

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