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PR- 377-10
September 2, 2010


New York Task Force One Went to Haiti in January

42 Members of the FDNY, 38 Members of the NYPD, 1 from Office of Emergency Management and 4 Search Dogs To Leave Early Friday Morning

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced tonight that that New York Task Force One, New York City's Federal Emergency Management Agency-sponsored (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue team made up of specially-trained personnel from the New York City Police and Fire Departments, has been activated and will deploy to Marlborough, Massachusetts early Friday morning in advance of Hurricane Earl, to be in place in the event their skills are needed.  The team, which was deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January, will leave from 930 Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn with 42 members of the FDNY including six Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), 38 Members of the NYPD, one person from the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and four search dogs.

"In New York City, we have a special appreciation for the support that others give during times of crisis. When we got the call from FEMA this evening, our men and women were already rushing out the door to help," Mayor Bloomberg said.

"New York City has the finest police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the world, and the FDNY, NYPD, and OEM members who serve on New York Task Force One are the best of the best," said OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno.  "Our team has demonstrated its expertise around the country and recently beyond our borders in Haiti, and I am sure their service to the people of Massachusetts will make New York City proud."

"Our team has unrivaled experience and expertise, performing at the highest level possible and dedicated to saving lives regardless of the challenge or the danger," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

"As they did months ago in Haiti, our best trained firefighters and emergency medical personnel are prepared to again perform life-saving work - this time in Massachusetts - if necessary," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano.

New York Task Force One is managed by the Office of Emergency Management and specializes in urban search and rescue, disaster recovery, and emergency triage and medicine.  The team is equipped with the latest technology and equipment and trained to respond to catastrophic events involving the collapse of heavy steel and concrete. The team is also trained in the use of specialized equipment including listening devices that can detect a heart beat, motion detection devices that can detect the smallest movements, and thermal imaging and search cameras for use in confined spaces.

In January, the team was deployed to Port-au-Prince, Haiti following that nation's devastating earthquake. In Haiti, the team members conducted six rescues, including one within hours of arriving in Haiti. New York Task Force One was previously deployed in 2008 in response to Hurricane's Ike and Gustav.

The FEMA Urban Search and Rescue program was originally envisioned as a response system for natural disasters. Since the program's inception, the task forces have broadened the scope of its work. Two early activations of the Urban Search and Rescue system occurred in response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in California. Urban Search and Rescue teams were also activated in response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Additionally, FEMA has deployed Urban Search and Rescue teams for such events as the Atlanta and Salt Lake City Olympic games, the 1997 and 2001 presidential inaugurations, and the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2007.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Chris Gilbride   (OEM)
(718) 422-4888

Paul Browne   (NYPD)
(646) 610-6700

Frank Gribbon   (FDNY)
(718) 999-2056

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