WAMU 88.5 : News

Fairfax Search and Rescue Team Helps With Hurricane Irene Recovery in Conn.

Play associated audio
Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1) Urban Search and Rescue received its activation orders from the federal government and is currently responding to damage from Hurricane Irene in Conn.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairfaxcounty/6082477371/
Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1) Urban Search and Rescue received its activation orders from the federal government and is currently responding to damage from Hurricane Irene in Conn.

Virginia was spared the worst of Hurricane Irene, but the commonwealth's most experienced first responders have been active since before the storm even hit.

Virginia Task Force 1, the Fairfax County-based search and rescue squad, has had a team on duty for five days already. The team has changed locations twice to help with Hurricane recovery efforts as needed. On Monday the team was dispatched to Connecticut.

Battalion chief Chris Schaff, who is not on the current mission, says the 74-member team includes physicians and K-9 units.

"We also have swift water assets including boats, and swift water rescue technicians embedded with the group," adds Schaff.

The Fairfax task force is one of only two such units in the country with international search and rescue experience. Earlier this year, team members traveled to Japan to help out after the Fukushima earthquake. Schaff says that, in some ways, the hectic travel this week has been just as draining for team members on the mission.

"It has kept us busy -- this one especially -- because they've been in three different locations in three different states," he says. "So it's been a lot of road trips for this team here".

Schaff says federal emergency officials will decide how long the team stays on duty, but he says task force members are prepared for up to two weeks of work at a time.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

GOP Debate: Scalia's Vacancy; Trump Puts Jeb On The Defense

Republicans let loose on each other in last night's South Carolina debate. Rachel Martin asks NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson about it.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.