Elite N.J. team to aid Hurricane Laura rescue and recovery efforts in Louisiana

Hurricane Laura moves through Louisiana

Dustin Amos walks near debris at a gas station on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the state. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

New Jersey’s elite search and rescue team is en route to Louisiana in response to Hurricane Laura, an extremely powerful hurricane with winds of 150 mph when it made landfall near Cameron, a 400-person community about 30 miles east of the Texas border, early Thursday morning.

Forecasters had warned that the storm surge would be “unsurvivable” and the damage “catastrophic.”

New Jersey Task Force 1 is heading to a staging area in Baton Rouge. It consists of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five utility vehicles, two crew carriers, a towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two terrain vehicles, a fleet service truck, six boats, and a water support trailer, according to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

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The task force, a member of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response team, has deployed seven times since 2016 as a Federal Emergency Management Agency team.

Active as a state resource since 1996, the team trains extensively for a variety of man-made and natural disaster response activities.

Between October 2016 and August 2019, the team joined search and rescue efforts following hurricanes Matthew, Harvey, Irma, Florence, Michael and Dorian.

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 

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