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Keyword: fema

Five Baltimore County Fire Department members The Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Teamremain in the Carolinas, assisting with rescue operations related to catastrophic flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.

Pennsylvania Task Force #1

Two of those members -- Fire Lt. Michael Szczesniakowsi and Fire Lt. Brandon Watkins -- are deployed with the Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PATF-1), a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team based in Philadelphia.  They were activated September 10 and now are working with the National Guard in Dillon, SC, assisting with water rescues and evacuations.

A third member of PATF-1 who deployed last week, Fire Capt. Kelvin Seigle, returned early due to a personal emergency.

Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team

Three BCoFD personnel who are members of the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (MDHART) were deployed under mutual aid agreements and currently are positioned at a base of operations in Raleigh, NC. (The entire team is pictured above.) Our MDHART members have been engaged in missions all morning.

Fire Lt. David Gouak, EMT/FF Shane Sierakowski and EMT/FF Andrew Hays are specially trained rescue personnel who work with the Maryland Army National Guard and engage in helicopter-based rescue missions under difficult conditions. 

Four Baltimore County Fire Department personnel have been deployed to assist with emergency response to the historic flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Two firefighters deployed early Sunday morning as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pennsylvania Task Force #1, a team of specially trained first responders based in Philadelphia.

They are Fire Lt. Byron Welker, a rescue specialist; and Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Steve Yealdhall, a hazmat specialist. They are regularly assigned to BCoFD's Texas Fire Station, home of the County's Urban Search and Rescue team.

FEMA organizes special task forces across the nation and selectively activates them in times of disaster. Over the years, various Baltimore County Fire Department members have responded as part of Pennsylvania Task Force #1 to a number of disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero in New York.

Lieutenant Welker, FADO Yealdhall and the rest of Pennsylvania Task Force #1 left by bus early Sunday morning. They are scheduled to stage outside of the Fort Worth area, where they will receive assignments from FEMA.

"Our thoughts and prayers remain with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey and its catastrophic aftermath. I am proud that Baltimore County is able to lend its expertise to help our fellow Americans suffering in this historic disaster," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III said this kind of emergency is exactly why BCoFD participates in agreements with FEMA. "Our job is to make people with the needed skills available when disasters like this occur. We don't know what role our personnel will be asked to play in Texas. We do know that they are committed and willing to do whatever they're asked to do."

Two other BCoFD members -- EMS Lieutenants Kevin Palmer and Rick Blubaugh -- flew to Dallas Friday as part of Maryland 1-Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Both are certified paramedics.

DMAT provides medical care during disasters that overwhelm healthcare infrastructure.

Federal assistance is available to governments and private nonprofit organizations that sustained damages during the historic blizzard that began January 22, 2016.

Eligible government applicants include counties and municipalities, local public authorities, school districts, regional and interstate government entities, agencies of local governments and special districts established under state law.

Eligible private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) include those that supply "critical" services -- education, utilities, emergency and medical services. They also include "non-critical" PNPs that provide essential government services and are open to the public.

Application Form

Application forms are available through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Informational Briefings

The Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has scheduled informational briefings on storm-related aid throughout Maryland. A schedule of these briefings is available online.

Baltimore County's informational briefing is scheduled March 28, 10 a.m., at the Baltimore County Public Safety Building, 700 E. Joppa Rd., Towson.

General information about FEMA's public assistance program is also available online.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017