Sac Fire Capts. Brian Luiz and Scott Johnson arrived in Puerto Rico Monday evening. Both serve on a regional Incident Support Team that is part of the California/FEMA Urban Search & Rescue system.
“Their mission is logistical support for the US&R teams that will be on the ground in Puerto Rico,” said Sac Fire Capt. Keith Wade. “They coordinate search and rescue assets as they arrive. They will manage feeding, fueling and housing US&R members.”
Luiz and Johnson are expected to be deployed for two weeks and will be used in a managerial capacity, Wade said.
The Sacramento firefighters are part of a 15-member coalition from California/FEMA Urban Search & Rescue task forces that Gov. Gavin Newsom approved for deployment to Puerto Rico as mutual aid through the California Office of Emergency Services.
“As we manage the ongoing emergency response to wildfire and support impacted communities, California is carefully assessing and balancing resources to answer the call to aid our fellow Americans in a time of great need,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci.
California-based US&R task forces have deployed to many state, national and international disasters including the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake catastrophe, the 2011 Japan earthquake/tsunami disaster and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017.
The first major hurricane of 2022, Fiona has dropped more than 30 inches of rain on Puerto Rico since making landfall on Sept. 18, causing flash flooding and leaving 80% of the island without power.