The Sacramento Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, which includes 23 members from the Sacramento Fire Department, has been activated to assist with emergency response efforts related to Hurricane Dorian.

The task force, known as CA-TF7, is headed to North Carolina. The team’s activation comes at the request of the Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA).

“We hope for the safe travels of our team members as they deploy to accomplish their mission assisting the communities impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said Sac Fire Chief Gary Loesch.

Sac Fire is the sponsoring agency for CA-TF7, which is one of 28 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces in the nation, and one of eight in California. Task force personnel and equipment can be used locally as well as for state and federal deployments.

Task forces such as CA-TF7 were originally created to respond to damage caused by earthquakes, but over the decades their duties have grown to include responding to other disasters including hurricanes.

CA-TF7’s specialties include collapse rescue, heavy rigging, logistics, hazardous materials, medical, communications, canine search teams, technical search and planning.

In addition to members of Sac Fire, the task force includes members of the Folsom Fire Department, Roseville Fire Department, West Sacramento Fire Department, Cosumnes Community Services District, El Dorado County Fire Protection District, Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento County Airports System, and Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

The task force also contracts with civilians for emergency physicians and structural engineers.

Hurricane Dorian has killed at least five people and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes in the Bahamas. More than 2 million people in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina have been warned to evacuate.