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State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Deploys Miami-Based Urban Search & Rescue Task Team to Panhandle


For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications,, 850.413.2842

State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Deploys Miami-Based Urban Search & Rescue Task Team to Panhandle
~Deploys Members of Marion County-Based Team to Fla. Join Natl Guard~ 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Late Tuesday evening, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management, mobilized Miami-based Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Force 2. The US&R Team will be deployed today to provide life-saving equipment and resources following the impacts of Hurricane Sally in the Panhandle. The CFO also announced that a portion of Task Force 8, based in Marion County, is joining the Florida National Guard for helicopter search and rescue missions.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Hurricane Sally is projected to bring historic storm surge and flooding to parts of the Western Panhandle. I have mobilized Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue teams throughout the state to save lives. These dedicated and highly trained first responders will bring lifesaving equipment and resources to support these communities following likely life-threatening flooding. Floridians must take this storm seriously, heed all advisories and take the necessary precautions to avoid dangerous flood waters.”
On Tuesday morning, the CFO mobilized Task Force 3 (Tampa) and 5 (Jacksonville) to aid in storm response. First responders from each team underwent COVID-19 testing before deployment. The teams possess swift-water capabilities and are prepared to partner with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida National Guard for lifesaving missions. US&R Task Force 7 (Tallahassee) is also on standby for possible deployment if necessary. 
Urban Search & Rescue Task Force Capabilities
• Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
• Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines
• Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials. 
• Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings
• Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations
• Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
• Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings
• Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment
• Search and rescue operations in a water environment 


About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).