San Diego

Special Search and Rescue Team in San Diego on Standby for Turkey Earthquake Relief

If approved by the president and FEMA, 80 members from San Diego would deploy to the disaster zone

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"Usually the first 24 to 48 hours period is the most crucial for us to go in there and do the most good, " said Aide Barbat.

He's the San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief and program manager for the local Federal Emergency Management Agency search and rescue team, dubbed Task Force 8.

"We are a search and rescue team that can perform everything from technical searches with K9s, search cameras, listening devices. We also have hazmat specialists, medical specialists, doctors, structural engineers," Barbat said.

San Diego's County Task Force 8 has 220 members, but 80 are ready to deploy to a disaster zone. Barbat's team hasn’t been asked to help in Syria and Turkey, but they are on standby. "It's unsure if we will be called out there, always a potential for everything," Barbat said.

Barbat said K9s will be critical to finding anyone under the rubble.

"So the K9s we deploy are crucial. Those dogs can clear a 10,000, 20,000 square foot pile within 8 to 10 minutes. Our goal is to get out there as quick as we can, get those dogs working and get to people as quick as we can and get our rescue teams in place to pull those people out that those K9s find," Barbat said.

Barbat said the first 24 to 48 hours is the most critical, but people can be found alive under rubble as long as a week. 

Task Force 8 and the team from Los Angeles and Virginia includes not only firefighters, but paramedics, rescue specialists, physicians and structural engineers.

The U.S. is one of several countries that said it would dispatch rescue teams to the earthquake zone, including Britain, India, Israel and several nations from the European Union.

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