HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Two members of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PATF-1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) are deploying to Puerto Rico to support response operations there, as Hurricane Fiona makes landfall bringing heavy rain and winds to other parts of the Caribbean.
The members will serve with a federal Incident Support Team and are prepared to remain deployed in Puerto Rico for up to two weeks.
Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico’s southwest coast on Sunday as it unleashed landslides, knocked the power grid out and ripped up asphalt from roads and flung the pieces around.
Forecasters said the storm would cause massive flooding and threatened to dump “historic” levels of rain, with up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) possible in eastern and southern Puerto Rico.
“Parts of Puerto Rico could get more than a foot of rain with this storm, and many people there are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria nearly five years ago,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “We will work with our federal partners to closely monitor conditions on the island and provide whatever support we can to the people there.”
PATF-1 is one of 28 teams that are part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System and is a federal resource that can quickly be mobilized to deploy to incidents anywhere in the country. The team is sponsored by the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Gov. Wolf said the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is also monitoring the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) system for requests for assistance.