The international humanitarian response to the hurricane disaster in the Bahamas includes help from across the U.S. and from members of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue in Virginia.
The local search and rescue team that’s known as USA-1, when working internationally, is deployed along with firefighters from Los Angeles County as part of USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team.
“Members of both teams comprised of 57 members and four K-9s will be conducting search and rescue missions, along with conducting humanitarian assessments and providing medical treatment to any citizens they encounter,” said Bill Vannoy, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue battalion chief and USA-1 task force leader in the Bahamas, in a tweeted video.
As of Thursday afternoon, some of the Virginia team members were conducting aerial assessments by plane with the U.S. Coast Guard on the northern Bahamian island of Abaco, one of the areas severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
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USAID also has coordinated the delivery of supplies for hurricane victims, USAID Administrator Mark Green said in a tweet. Green said supplies were enough to help 31,500 people, which included hygiene kits, buckets and water containers, and rolls of plastic sheeting.
A flight w/ enough @USAID supplies to help 31,500 ppl arrived in The #Bahamas from our Miami warehouse. To help ppl affected by #HurricaneDorian, @nemabahamas will distribute supplies incl:
🔸600 Hygiene kits
🔸2,400 Buckets & water containers
🔸450 Rolls of plastic sheeting pic.twitter.com/MYSf2aSy9X
— Mark Green (@USAIDMarkGreen) September 5, 2019
Meet Bill Vannoy, Battalion Chief of @ffxfirerescue @VATF1 & Task Force Leader of USA-1 on @USAID‘s #HurricaneDorian DART. Hear 1st-hand why the search & rescue teams (incl members of @LACOFD) were activated & what they will be doing to assist once on the ground in The #Bahamas pic.twitter.com/ojXs6nyRsv
— USAID/OFDA (@theOFDA) September 4, 2019
When Fairfax County’s search and rescue team deploys domestically, it does so as Virginia Task Force-1, or VA-TF1, and is funded and coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt told WTOP in an email.
“No local tax dollars go toward supporting the team or its mission whether domestic or international. This includes equipment, training, compensation, etc.,” Hildebrandt said.