IRVINE ( – A large group of Orange County firefighters left Irvine for Texas Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey making landfall.

The task force, comprised 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 OCFA Capt. Larry Kurtz. The group is taking dogs, boats and tons of equipment.

Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The slow-moving storm could produce large amounts of rainfall, increasing the danger of flooding.

“They (the firefighters) 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 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 Harvey makes landfall on Saturday, Kurtz said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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