HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Eight firefighters with the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire are currently stationed in Charleston South Carolina where Ian is expected to make landfall as a Category one hurricane on Friday, Sept. 30.
The firefighters are there as members of Pennsylvania Task Force One. They are serving as reserve assets for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They will also have the authority to give assistance to regional fire departments in the Charleston Region.
After the storm passes, firefighters will go block by block to make sure there are no victims inside evacuated buildings.
“From a rescue standpoint, they can do anything to help,” Chief Brian Enterline of the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire said. “They can assist local and regional responders with water rescues. They can rescue people from buildings. If there are building collapses, they are trained to do that as well.”
The task force is made up of 44 people, representing the best urban search and rescue first responders in the state. The task force is one of 28 total task forces that are overseen by FEMA.
“It is no small feat to get onto an urban search-and-rescue team. There are hundreds of hours of additional training, oftentimes with no pay, just to get onto that team,” Enterline said. “Every one of our guys on that team is prepared, and it goes to show the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire is committed to serving anybody. It will benefit the federal level over the next week, but it has daily benefits at home as well.”
Members of the Philadelphia Fire Department have also been sent to South Carolina as part of the task force as well.