LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Three Southern California firefighters were deployed Tuesday to help assist in search-and-rescue efforts underway after the devastating tornado in Oklahoma.
Two L.A. City firefighters and one from Orange County were already on the ground to support recovery teams in the cities of Moore and Newcastle, Okla., while other LAFD Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR) are standing by.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports 70 members of California USAR Task Force 1 – including handlers for up to nine search and cadaver dogs – are wondering if they might be deployed to help.
“If the need arises and several task forces are deployed, the California Task Force One from Los Angeles Fire Department could be activated,” L.A. Fire spokeswoman Katherine Maines told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.
Urban Search and Rescue teams are nationally certified to travel throughout the U.S. as needed, according to officials.
At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), six members of California’s search and rescue teams are also headed to Oklahoma.
California Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Renick said they also are on standby in case assistance is needed.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely, and if FEMA requests more support, we will provide that,” Renick said.
As many as 24 people were killed – including seven children – and over 200 people were hospitalized after the massive tornado reported to be more than a mile wide with winds of at least 166 miles per hour left widespread damage and casualties when it touched down at 3:56 p.m. EDT on Monday.