Check out the video player to the right for more videos of USAR teams in Haiti
STATter911.com had a phone conversation this afternoon with Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Captain Joe Knerr, who is a task force leader on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Captain Knerr tells us the live rescues by Virginia Task Force 1 and the other USAR teams are becoming fewer as the hours slip by saying, “Time is our enemy”.
The last rescue for his team was last night around 9:00 PM when the Fairfax County group assisted rescuers from Martinique in removing a 21-year-old woman from a collapsed apartment building. She was taken to a hospital set up by a group of Israeli medical personnel.
That was the 15th successful rescue Virginia Task Force 1 participated in since becoming the first urban search and rescue team to arrive in Haiti.
Last Thursday we showed you the very first rescue. That was the widely seen video of security guard Tarmo Joveer as he walked down from the crumbled United Nations building. What we haven’t shown you until know is the close-up view of that rescue. That video, above, shows the final stages of the operation. This appears to be the moment when the crew passed a Sawzall to Joveer so he could cut away a chair and clear the path from the rubble.
Captain Knerr said it was good morale booster for the crew to make an early rescue. They had already been to one scene where the victim they were after had expired. The next day the crew from Northern Virginia made eight more rescues.
Currently Virginia Task Force 1 is doing searches in the team’s assigned sector of the city. Captain Knerr says while he is aware of reports of unrest and security issues, his team has not experienced that problem. He says where necessary they are escorted by security personnel.
After the initial blitz of the entire team working 40 to 50 hours with only cat naps, they are settling down into a routine of assigned shifts.
Knerr tells us they continue to keep a close eye on their water supply and expect to be in Haiti between 10 and 14 days.
The captain says their hope is as the teams move into a recovery phase they can assist with other humanitarian efforts.