A San Diego search-and-rescue team that specializes in urban disasters is on its way to Texas to help victims of the devastating Hurricane Harvey.
Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 8, based in San Diego, is one of 28 federal urban search and rescue teams that specializes in urban disasters. The team specializes specifically in confined space operations when structures collapse.
The team previously deployed to Louisiana to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to New York to after 9/11, the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 and several other disaster areas.
Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered just off the coast dropping heavy rain after being downgraded, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston on Sunday. The rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help.
Parts of Southeast Texas could get as much as 50 inches of rain — the highest amount ever recorded in Texas. Thousands of people have been rescued from floodwaters in southeast Texas, officials said.
Task Force 8 will stage in San Antonio to help Harvey victims.
Task Force 8 is compromised of 21 agencies across the County, including nearly all of the County's fire departments, and a structural engineer from the Development Services Department, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) spokesman Monica Munoz said.
The team heading to the devastated parts of Texas include 24 members of the SDFD team as well as members from the Santee Fire Department and Heartland Fire and Rescue Department.
Also heading to Texas are 14 Search Dog Foundation teams, including two from San Diego with Task Force 8: Brent Brainard and Decker, and Linda D'Orsi and Haley.