Local firefighters deployed to Tuscaloosa, AL

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 10:05am

Nearly a week after storms ripped through parts of the South, more than 300 people were still missing in Alabama as of Monday.  Now, emergency responders and search crews need all the help they can get.  Early Monday morning, the Urban Search and Rescue Louisiana Task Force 3, USAR LA-TF 3, responded to that call and headed to Tuscaloosa.

They got the call Sunday afternoon requesting at least 120 personnel from Louisiana, 38 of them coming from Shreveport and Bossier City.  This team will provide secondary search and rescue, as well as damage assessment in Alabama.

Their assistance will help speed up the recovery effort from last week's storms that decimated parts of the South.

This trip will be the team's first deployment since the task force was created three years ago.  "We've been preparing for this since Hurricane Katrina when a lot of things were identified as far as needs for the state." said Joe Prator of USAR LA-TF 3.

The men and women expect to do everything from shoring up buildings to digging through rubble for victims.  The K-9 team took along five dogs, two for live searching and three cadaver dogs.  "Once we get our designated search area, we plan to hit the disaster field and start searching resident-by-resident for, hopefully, survivors," said Rick Morrow, K-9 Handler for USAR LA-TF 3.

Task Force 3 will join the two other task forces from Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  The team could be doing search and recovery in Tuscaloosa for 7-10 days.

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