Not unexpected this evening, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is sending a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Haiti. This will include firefighters from Fairfax County and Los Angeles County. The two urban search and rescue (USAR) teams have been activated and are gathering personnel and equipment.
Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department spokesman Dan Schmidt tells STATter911.com that as of 10:30 PM EST flight arrangements have not been finalized. Approximately ninety-percent of the 72-member team is made up of county firefighters. Civilian doctors, structural engineers and canine handlers are also part of the team.
The firefighters are at the department’s training academy loading the team’s 90,000 pounds of equipment.
The department, as it has in the past, will set up its family support group to keep relatives notified of the team’s location and progress through conference calls and other means.
Members of the Fairfax team have responded to disasters all over the world including two previous trips to Haiti for a school collapse and a hurricane.