Menlo Park Fire District – Swift Water Rescue Team Returns

Published on Feb 25, 2017 at 08:49a.m.

NEWS RELEASE - February 25, 2017

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Menlo Park Fire District – Swift Water Rescue Team Returns

All nine Swift Water Rescue Teams that were placed on standby by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Service (CAL-OES) were released on Friday. The specialized 14 member Teams were mobilized and deployed into the Central Valley last Sunday and strategically located from Merced to Yuba City. After being deployed to Oroville for the potential dam failure and returning a day later, then re-deployed a week later, first into Sacramento and later locally to Los Gatos, the Menlo Park Fire District Water Rescue Team, also known as California Task Force 3 (CA-TF3), were happy to make the short trip home on Friday. While some went back on shift, others were able to go home and spend some time with their families.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection Districts Team is one of the States original founding Swift Water Rescue Teams first established in 1994. Known as California Task Force 3 (CA-TF3), the Team has performed water rescues all over the State and across the Country in places like New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Fire Chief Schapelhouman said “Standby missions are always a mixed bag of wanting to go operational while not wishing what that actually means on anyone. We have a number of new members on the Team that had never been deployed before mixed in with some very experienced senior personnel who had actually worked in places like New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and they kept everyone grounded in that reality”.

The Team was able to recertify the Swift Water Rescue equipment cache with CAL-OES while in Sacramento and kept busy training daily and pre-planning for a local deployment anytime they were assigned into a new area, including Coyote Creek in San Jose.

“They were prepared to back the San Jose Fire Department up if they needed or asked for our help, but it looks like they had things well in hand and did a fantastic job of handling everything that was thrown at them” the Chief said.

With reservoirs full and the fragile levee system already stressed in the Central Valley, the record snow pack may very well create a tipping point later this year, so all of the Team members are keeping their gear bags packed.

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