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O.C. search-and-rescue workers to aid Sandy efforts on East Coast

Three members of an Orange County urban search-and-rescue team have been dispatched to the East Coast to lend their assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, part of an 83-member California emergency response contingent that is expected to be deployed.  

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Orange County Fire Authority sent management specialists in command and control, logistics and mobilization to the storm zone this week, Capt. Marc Stone said Tuesday.

Stone could not confirm where the team members were sent, but Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement Monday that 10 urban search-and-rescue team members from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties were sent to Virginia.

PHOTOS: Sandy hammers much of the East Coast

Brown also said the National Guard was deploying transport planes, helicopters and specialized rescue teams to help with recovery efforts.

The Orange Country members from Task Force 5, one of 28 urban search-and-rescue teams in the nation, spent three weeks helping out with Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, along with Hurricanes Ivan and Gustav, Stone said.

But Sandy, he said, is expected to top all of those storms in the breadth of its destruction.

“Nobody’s ever seen a storm this size that has affected such a large area,” Stone said.

He added that the other 72 members of the Orange County team were ready to deploy at any time.

“If they call, we will be able to respond,” he said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Monday it was sending more than 150 workers to New York to help restore power in the aftermath of the powerful storm. The crews will be leaving in the next couple of days, officials said.

About a dozen deaths have been tied so far to the storm, which battered New Jersey on Monday night with sheets of rain and 80-mph winds, officials said.


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