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FEMA Activates MCFRS Search and Rescue Team (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

UPDATED In a warehouse off Dover Road in Rockville, dozens of Montgomery County fire and rescue crews checked in and packed up as they prepared to head south to help with the Hurricane Matthew response.

These men and women are part of Maryland Task Force 1, an Urban Search and Rescue Teamcuhgsoxwgaaof3y activated by FEMA on Thursday to help the southern states respond to the massive storm. There are only 28 such FEMA teams in the country, according to Pete Piringer, a spokesperson for Montgomery County fire and rescue service.

In addition to the search and rescue team members, Piringer said, Montgomery County is sending incident support team members and hazardous materials specialists at the request of FEMA. They are accompanied by a civilian physician and K9 handlers. They left Montgomery County in a caravan of vehicles, including tractor trailers packed with equipment and supplies.

“These firefighters bring a whole wealth of resources on many levels,” said Piringer, noting that the paramedics and firefighters who are members of this team are highly trained.

“They bring a lot of technical expertise: technical rescue, collapse rescue, high angle rescue, water rescue,” said Piringer, who added that they are also very self sufficient.

The crews packed everything they might need for ten to 14 days. That includes tents for accommodations, food and medicine.

The Montgomery County firefighters were expected to arrive at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia early Friday morning but they have been rerouted to Columbia, South Carolina.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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