Within 30 minutes of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, the U.S. Agency for International Development activated USAR Task Forces from L.A. County and Fairfax County.
On July 24 at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, Md., members of the L.A. County team will share their experiences.
Within hours of touching down, the teams were conducting structure triage and rescue.
They were joined by three other task forces including New York Task Force 1 and Florida Task Forces 1 (Miami-Dade) and 2 (Miami). Together, they accounted for nearly 50 of the 150 rescues of deeply entombed victims in Port au Prince.
T teams knew this event would far exceed any they ever witnessed in terms of death, destruction, and suffering. Everywhere they looked, they saw many collapsed structures.
There were too many downed buildings to count, but there was also hope their training prepared them for this kind of event.
Rescuers were still finding people alive nearly a week after the quake, and the people in the street, even in the most dangerous neighborhoods, understood why we were there and helped where they could.