A Los Angeles County Fire Department urban search and rescue team was mobilizing today to travel to Haiti in the aftermath of the magnitude-7 earthquake that rocked the Caribbean island nation. Commanders of the 72-member team received a request Tuesday from the U.S. Agency for International Development and were staging at the Urban Search and Rescue facility at 12605 Osborne St. in Pacoima. Team members were waiting this morning for the order to deploy, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Frederic Stowers. "If we are deployed these guys are going over there to be self- sufficient," Stowers said, speaking by telephone this morning from Pacoima. "They'll be working together. If necessary, they'll coordinate with members of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti for translators. But these guys are trained to be self-reliant."
French is the dominant language in Haiti. No French speakers had been identified early today on the county's urban search-and-rescue team but the potential language barrier was the least of squad members' concerns, Stowers said. Firefighters were waiting to learn whether they will fly by commercial or military transport, which will determine
whether they depart from Los Angeles International Airport or March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, a camera crew reported from Pacoima. A departure point for the team and their gear had not been decided on as of 5:30 a.m., Stowers said. "We're waiting to hear from Haiti about an assessment this morning, for logistics and planning purposes," Stowers said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them now." There was no definite timetable for the team's departure from the Southland, Stowers said.
Kent News: Specialist firefighters from Kent are preparing to join the UK international search and rescue team in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.
The group from Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) will be deployed as part of the Government’s response to the disaster.
The earthquake – measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale – struck last night in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Princ.