San Diego rescue team goes to Florida for Hurricane Dorian

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego's fire department is sending a five-member task force to Florida to help first responders there deal with Hurricane Dorian, officials said Monday.

Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 8, which is coordinated through the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, dispatched the team, and officials said they are prepared to send more resources if needed.

The San Diego task force is specially trained to assist local agencies nationwide in mitigating large-scale urban disasters, both natural and man-made. The team's expertise is "confined space search and rescue" where structures have collapsed.

San Diego team members were dispatched to the World Trade Center after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to Los Angeles County after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, to the Midwest after the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing, and to Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

US&R was developed in 1990 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to several disasters which occurred in the 1980s. The Loma Prieta earthquake, in particular, brought a significant focus on the federal, state and local governments' abilities to respond to such disasters.

Hurricane Dorian was slamming the Bahamas on Monday with winds of 165 mph. Its track was dangerously close to a long swath of the East Coast from Florida to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and southeastern Virginia this week.

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