Pennsylvania deploys additional personnel to help with hurricane relief

People are evacuating parts of Florida likely to be hard-hit by Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo)

People are evacuating parts of Florida likely to be hard-hit by Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo)

After sending dozens of members of its Urban Search and Rescue task force to Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery, Pennsylvania is now sending a group of personnel south — this time to Florida, to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Coordinators say this is more deployments than they’ve seen in a long time.

Pennsylvania’s Task Force One is among 28 federal teams around the country that deploy at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s request to assist during natural disasters.

39 of the 45 members of the Pennsylvania team that helped out during the Texas flooding are now en route to their next hurricane.

Scott Sladek, who helps oversee Task Force One, says 41 more are joining them in Georgia, where they’ll wait for more orders.

He says this isn’t a common situation.

“Just talking to the other fellas here at the offices, this is rare you’re getting these hurricanes one after the other like we’ve just gotten,” he said.

FEMA can request a few different levels of service from the team —for Irma —it’s a “Type One,” which means 80 people deploy.

The Pennsylvania task force has more than 200 members, so Sladek said they could send more people if necessary.

But he added, all their equipment is now in Georgia, so if more reinforcements are needed, they’ll have to come up with a backup plan.

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