Utah Task Force 1 heads east to help victims of Hurricane Dorian


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 4, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Task Force 1 (UT-TF1), a highly trained search and rescue task force managed by Unified Fire Authority, has deployed to Charlotte, North Carolina, to assist with emergency operations in the face of Hurricane Dorian.

Utah Task Force 1 is one of 28 federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces that coordinate efforts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA Headquarters contacted UT-TF1 early Tuesday afternoon with an order to have a Type III team arrive in Charlotte by 7 a.m. Thursday to conduct water rescues if Dorian hits the North Carolina coast.

The team left Salt Lake City on Tuesday night, flying by commercial aircraft for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, according to UFA Public Information Officer Ryan Love. Flying ensures that they will be in place ahead of the hurricane.

Utah Task Force 1 deployed to North Carolina on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, to assist victims of Hurricane Dorian. Photo: Utah Task Force 1/Facebook

Love said UT-TF1 is composed of 45 members, which includes 30 from UFA, eight from Salt Lake City Fire Department, two from Park City Fire Department, a physician, two structural engineers, and two rescue canines.

The Type III team heading to North Carolina specializes in water rescue, Love said, and has personnel trained in logistics, hazmat response, and boat operations, among other specialties.

In addition to responding to the World Trade Center on 9/11, UT-TF1 also was deployed to assist with Hurricane Katrina, which struck Florida and Louisiana in August 2005, the Colorado floods of September 2013, and Hurricane Harvey in Texas in August 2017.

Love said the length of a typical deployment is about 14 days.


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