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Press Release

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State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Deploys Orlando-Based Urban Search & Rescue Task Force to Panhandle for Large Helicopter Search-and-Rescue Missions

PENSACOLA, Fla. – On Thursday, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management, mobilized Orlando-based Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 4. Members of the US&R Team are being deployed to join the National Guard for aerial search-and-rescue missions following the landfall of Hurricane Sally. The CFO also sent out a five fire engine strike team from municipalities within Pinellas County to assist Escambia County in the recovery efforts.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, "Hurricane Sally was a major flooding event and time is of the essence when it comes to saving lives. Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Teams have already began multiple search-and-rescue missions with local officials in communities impacted by Hurricane Sally. I am here in the Panhandle today to offer assistance and encourage everyone to remember that this is still a disaster area, so it is vital to heed all advisories from local authorities. Please stay safe as we work together to help Florida recover.”
Since Hurricane Sally’s arrival, the CFO has deployed Task Force 3 (Tampa), 5 (Jacksonville) and Task Force 2 (Miami) to support recovery and response efforts. US&R Task Force 7 (Tallahassee) remains on standby for possible deployment if the need arises. Additionally, each of the these highly skilled first responders underwent COVID-19 testing prior to mobilizing.
Urban Search & Rescue Task Force Capabilities
• Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
• Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines
• Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials. 
• Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings
• Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations
• Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
• Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings
• Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment
• Search and rescue operations in a water environment 
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