Carol Guzy/Washington Post
SLUG: HaitiFairfax DATE: January 15, 2010 CREDIT: Carol Guzy/The Washington Post LOCATION: Port-au-Prince HAITI CAPTION: Fairfax Search and Rescue team from VA assist in rescue operation at the Montana Hotel. They worked together with the French Civil Protection team to free an American man from the rubble of the earthquake by amputating both his legs and evacuating him by helicopter. StaffPhoto imported to Merlin on Fri Jan 15 18:23:22 2010
A search and rescue team based in Menlo Park may be heading to Haiti after all to help with relief efforts, according to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.
Task Force 3 is comprised of personnel from numerous fire protection agencies throughout San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.
It also includes civilian professionals such as doctors, structural engineers, dog handlers, heavy equipment operators and communications experts.
In the first days after the earthquake, the peninsula team said it was staying in the Bay Area in case of a local terror attack. They sid they also needed to be ready in case a recent swarm of earthquakes develops into something bigger.
"We always have to be prepared domestically. We want to help our neighbors, but also have to vigilant and protect our own country," Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.
That has apparently changed and now at least a portion of the unit will be heading to the earthquake zone in the coming days.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday that 70 of the Task Force's 230 members could be deployed to Haiti from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1 to help the country following Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
The personnel would be taken by military aircraft and bring more than 60,000 pounds of rescue equipment, according to the Menlo Park fire officials.
The Task Force has responded to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, bombings and terrorist acts.
It deployed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and rescued more than 1,000 people during a month-long stay in New Orleans.
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