PRESS RELEASE - September 4, 2019 Menlo Park Fire Protection District - Hurricane Dorian

California Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 3 – UPDATE 10 PM

45 Team Members and 3 Search and Recovery Dogs arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday morning to assist with Search and Rescue operations.  The Bay Area Task Force is comprised of Fire Agencies up and down the Peninsula. The Task Force is sponsored by the Menlo Park Fire Protection District who relies on its fire and civilian partners such as the Central (San Mateo) County Fire Department, Milpitas Fire Department, Mountain View Fire Department, Palo Alto Fire Department, Redwood City Fire Department, San Francisco Fire Department, San Jose Fire Department, San Mateo Consolidated Fire Department, Santa Clara City Fire Department, Santa Clara County Fire Department and the Woodside Fire Protection District.

In addition, 10 civilian (non-fire) team members come from agencies like Genentech, Stanford Hospital and other public and private practice entities that provide the Task Force with technical expertise, such as Doctors, Structural Engineers, Heavy Equipment Operators, Communications Specialists, Hazardous Materials Response and other needed specialized skills. Eight of the forty-five first responders have never been deployed before while others have been deployed multiple times. The Task Force Leader, Deputy Chief Jim Stevens, has been with the Menlo Park Fire District for 38 years, is a founding member of Task Force 3 and is one of three responders to Hurricane Dorian that was also deployed to the collapse of the World Trade Center, eighteen years ago in 2001.

Pictured Above – K9 Dixie’s first deployment with her experienced handler, South San Francisco Firefighter Tom Carney, a veteran of many disasters – Photo Credit Fire Photographer Peter Mootz

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman is a founding member of the Task Force model “there are 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA-DHS) sponsored Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Forces in the United States, 8 are located in California and they directly coordinate with the Governor’s Office Of Emergency Services or CAL-OES. All 8 California Task Forces have been deployed to North Carolina and all 28 National Task Forces have been deployed into the theatre of operations in advance of Hurricane Dorian. These Teams are the “Special Forces” of the Fire Service and first response community Nationwide with over 6,000 team members. The Task Forces were originally created in the early 1990’s in response to the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Hurricane Hugo and have evolved into highly capable, multi-disciplined, all-risk National Response System. They essentially are the Federal Governments “Swiss Army Knife” and nobody understands the importance and value of immediate first response better than local First Responders who daily live in a world where seconds, minutes and hours can mean the difference between life and death.”

Pictured Above –Task Force 3 members load a bus for San Francisco Airport enroute to North Carolina – Photo Credit Fire Photographer Peter Mootz

Pictured Above –Task Force 3 members run through equipment checklists in preparation for responding to North Carolina – Photo Credit Fire Photographer Peter Mootz


Prior Deployments to the Nation’s most significant emergencies:

1991 Hurricane Iniki, Type 1, CA OES Mutual Aid
1993 Acceptance as a FEMA US&R Task Force
1993 Northridge Earthquake, Type 1
1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Type 1
1998 Hurricane Georges, IST
2001 World Trade Center Collapse, Type 1
2001 Pentagon Collapse - IST
2002 Winter Olympics, IST support
2003 Hurricane Isabel, IST support
2003 Space Shuttle Columbia, Canine SAR Specific, IST
2004 G-8 Summit, IST
2004 Republican National Convention, IST
2004 Democratic National Convention, IST
2004 Hurricane Charley, IST
2004 Hurricane Frances, IST
2004 Hurricane Ivan, IST
2005 Hurricane Dennis, IST
2005 Hurricane Katrina, Type 1, MPFD Water Rescue Team, IST
2005 Hurricane Rita, IST
2005 Hurricane Wilma, IST
2006 Hurricane Ernesto, Type 3, ISTXI
2007 Kansas Tornadoes, IST
2008 Hurricane Gustav, Type 3, IST
2008 Hurricane Ike, IST
2008 Hurricane Edouard, IST
2008 Republican National Convention, IST
2010 Hurricane Earl, IST
2010 San Bruno PG&E Gas Main Explosion - Modular
2014 Washington Mudslide - IST
2014 Operation Alaskan Shield – Type 1
2016 Hurricane Matthew, IST
2016 Hurricane Maria, IST
2017 Oroville Dam Failure - SWRT
2017 Oroville Dam Failure/San Jose Flooding - SWRT
2017 Hurricane Harvey – MRP Water Rescue with UAS
2017 Hurricane Irma – MRP, Type 3 and IST
2017 Hurricane Isabel – IST
2018 Hurricane Lane (Hawaii) – Type 3
2018 Hurricane Olivia (Hawaii) – Type 3
2018 Camp Fire – Paradise California – Type 3 and UAS
2019 Hurricane Barry – IST
2019 Hurricane Dorian – Puerto Rico, Florida, North Carolina – Type 3 and IST

Harold Schapelhouman, Fire Chief


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