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Keyword: steve yealdhall

Update, September 11:

Fire Capt. John Amrhein, who has been serving with Maryland 1-Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) in Texas, has been redeployed to Florida to assist victims of Hurricane Irma.

Five Fire Department personnel remain deployed in the South -- Captain Amrhein and four members assigned to FEMA's Pennsylvania Task Force #1, a search and rescue team.

Original release:

Baltimore County Fire personnel continue to play a role in emergency response in Texas and now Florida, where Hurricane Irma -- a massive Category 5 storm -- threatens the entire state.

Three BCoFD members were deployed yesterday to Alabama as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pennsylvania Task Force #1 to prepare to respond to rescue and recovery needs associated with Irma.

Fire Lt. David Gouak, Fire Lt. Brandon Watkins and Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Shawn Drees will join Fire Lt. Byron Welker in Alabama. Lieutenant Welker, also a member of the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Task Force #1, has been deployed in Texas to assist with the response to Hurricane Harvey. The task force currently is demobilizing operations in that area.

Task Force member Fire Apparatus Driver Operator Steve Yealdhall, who was deployed to Texas, is returning home shortly.

Three BCoFD and one Health and Human Services personnel who have been serving in Texas as part of the Maryland 1-Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) also have been demobilized and are on their way home: Fire Capt. Jack Amrhein, EMS Lt. Kevin Palmer, EMS Lt. Rick Blubaugh and Terry Sapp, Coordinator of Public Health Emergency Preparedness for the Department of Health and Human Services and an EMT.

"These are skilled professionals who have shown tremendous caring and heart. We are proud of them and happy to see them return safely," said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "We continue to keep the people of Texas, and now everyone in Irma's path, in our thoughts."

Preparing for Irma

Baltimore County agencies continue to monitor Hurricane Irma's track and prepare accordingly. "We are fortunate to have well-trained personnel and state-of-the-art equipment for our response, should this storm affect us," said Fire Chief Kyrle W. Preis III. "In the meantime, this is the right time for our citizens to take stock of their own emergency kits and other personal preparedness needs."

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.

Revised June 27, 2017