CA-TF5 Firefighters Deployed to Aid Puerto Rico Earthquake - Jan 2020

3 Orange County firefighters deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in rescue efforts following earthquakes

Three members of the Orange County Fire Authority’s Urban Search and Rescue team have been deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in rescue efforts after a series of earthquakes rocked the southern portion of the island and caused power outages over the past week, authorities said.

Retired Division Chief Mike Boyle, Battalion Chief Steve Dohman and Air Operations member John Keesee were deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help in Puerto Rico shortly after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck about 4:24 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time, Jan. 7, Battalion Chief Craig Covey said Saturday.

The trio has teamed up with another task force team from Florida to assist in search and rescue operations, Covey said. The three members from OCFA specialize in rescuing victims of concrete structure collapses.

“This is the real technical rescue of someone deep inside a collapsed structure,” Covey said. “They need specialists with the equipment who can do this and that’s what these guys do.”

The three men were thought to be close to heading home after receiving few assignments following their arrival, but that changed after a series of aftershocks. The team is anticipated to remain in Puerto Rico until mid-week next week, Covey said.

The team, one of 28 federal teams funded and sponsored by FEMA, has responded to other natural disasters in recent years, including the Camp Fire, Ventura County fires and hurricanes on the East Coast, he said.

They volunteer, but are employed by FEMA when deployed, Covey said. The three were selected to the program after an interview and training…

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