Skip Navigation

Baltimore County iWatch Logo

Public Safety News

 

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: pennsylvania task force #1

Update, September 6, 2019:

Three BCoFD personnel who are members of the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (MDHART) have been deployed to North Carolina under mutual aid agreements to assist with rescue operations related to Hurricane Dorian.

MDHART comprises specially trained rescue personnel who work with the Maryland Army National Guard and engage in helicopter-based rescue missions under difficult conditions.

The three BCoFD members who have been deployed are:

  • Fire Captain Mike Berna
  • Fire Specialist Corey Watkins
  • Fire Specialist Blake Curry 

MDHART currently awaits orders for any rescue missions and continues to train and prepare equipment.

The Pennsylvania Task Force #1, a FEMA rescue unit that includes BCoFD rescue specialists, has been in Jacksonville, Florida for several days and is in the process of demobilization.

Original release:

Six BCoFD members assigned to a federal emergency task force are in Jacksonville, Florida to assist with hurricane operations.

The BCoFD personnel, all tactical rescue specialists, deployed Friday and are staged in Jacksonville, Florida, waiting to see if they will be needed. Hurricane Dorian has been situated over the Bahamas all weekend, and forecasters still are not sure if and where it will make landfall on the East Coast.

Over the years, tactical specialists from BCoFD have participated in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pennsylvania Task Force #1. PATF and FEMA task forces throughout the country are deployed to disaster sites to provide search and rescue services.

The members deployed to Jacksonville are Fire Capt. Kelvin Seigle, Parkton Station #60; and Fire Lt. David Gouak, Fire Lt. Brandon Watkins, Fire Lt. Jason Porrovicchio , FADO Shawn Drees and FADO Steve Yealdhall, all of Texas Station #17.

 

 

 

Seven BCoFD members have deployed to the Gulf Coast to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery operations.

This is the second time in less than a month that BCoFD personnel have been called to assist with hurricane-stricken regions. Several urban search and rescue experts and helicopter rescue specialists were deployed to the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence.

Four members -- operating as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pennsylvania Task Force #1, a search and rescue unit -- are en route to Panama City, Florida. They are Fire Lt. Michael Szczesniakowsi, Fire Lt. Brandon Watkins, Fire Apparatus Driver Operator (FADO) Steve Yealdhall and FADO Shawn Drees. All are search and rescue specialists.

Three members have been deployed with the Maryland Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MD1 DMAT) to help provide medical care to hurricane victims. DMAT provides medical care during disasters that overwhelm health care infrastructure.

The BCoFD members deployed with DMAT are Fire Capt. Jack Amrhein, EMS Lt. Rick Blubaugh and EMS Lt. Kevin Palmer.

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. 

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017