Menlo Park-based task force to help with Hurricane Dorian


The locally based Task Force 3 search and rescue team is heading to North Carolina to help the region cope with Hurricane Dorian should it make landfall on the East Coast, according to Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which oversees the team.

The 45-member team will fly to Charlotte on Tuesday (Sept. 3) evening, and 45,000 pounds of search and rescue equipment with inflatable boats will also be shipped out for the effort, according to Schapelhouman.

The task force was sent to help with the Camp Fire in Northern California in November, and in the past was deployed to such disasters as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, and the Oroville Dam failure in 2017, among other missions.


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Posted by Avin Prasad
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 5, 2019 at 7:08 am

That is insane! Thank you to the service man going to help with such distastes. I really was unaware that Menlo Park departments reached out across the US

3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 5, 2019 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District proudly sponsors the CA-TF3 Urban Search and Rescue Team. It operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As the sponsoring agency, the Fire District has the responsibility of managing the team and making sure it is able to respond to any incident it is requested to do so. CA-TF3 is a specially trained and equipped 80 person Urban Search and Rescue Task Force consisting of 18 participating agencies and 60 civilians. There are a total of 220 members who are available to respond. Those members include Menlo Park firefighters and paramedics rescue specialists, emergency room physicians, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, canine search dogs and handlers, hazardous materials technicians, communications specialists, and logistics specialists. This unique technical rescue team responds with 70,000 pounds of prepackaged search and rescue tools and medical equipment to conduct around the clock search and rescue operations at domestic and international disasters, both natural and man-made.

On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists, and many Americans lost their lives during the attacks. Many Firefighters, Policemen and EMS Personnel lost their lives while trying to save others. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) lost over 300 of their own personnel including most of their command staff. At 11:00 am on September 11, 2001 California Task Force 3 (CATF-3) was put on alert. Preparations began for their eventual September 18 activation.

Since September 11, 2001, CA-TF3 as a team has been deployed twice to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ernesto. Members of CATF-3 have been deployed on the Incident Management Team to Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Dennis, Space Shuttle Recovery and the Greensburg Kansas Tornado.

Hurricane Katrina was one of the nation's largest and most devastating disasters. CA-TF3 sent an 80 person type one team, a 15 person swift water rescue team and 6 Incident Support Team (IST) personnel. Members were deployed for up to 21 days. Some members of the IST were in position 3 days prior to the storm making land fall.

9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Sep 5, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Residents of the Fire District should realize that, as a result of the District's participation in CA TF-3, our firefighters have more direct hands on disaster experience than do any other firefighters in a comparable sized fire agency in the entire Nation.

It would have cost the Fire District millions of dollars to provide comparable disaster training to its firefighters.

Instead such training has been paid for by FEMA and the District is fully reimbursed for all of the costs of its many real world disaster deployments - and there is no training that can compare to learning experience of CA TF-3's actual disaster deployments.

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