Six California rescuers sent to help in Oklahoma

Gov. Jerry Brown has directed the California Emergency Management Agency to deploy members of the state’s Urban Search and Rescue teams to aid response and recovery efforts following the catastrophic tornado that struck an Oklahoma City suburb Monday.

At the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s request, six specialists from five California-based national teams are on their way: two from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and one each from the Los Angeles City Fire Department, Oakland Fire Department, Sacramento City Fire Department and Orange County Fire Authority.

They’ll coordinate and support operations conducted by national task forces from Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas.

Brown said the Golden State’s thoughts are with the stricken communities; CalEMA Secretary Mark Ghilarducci said his agency remains in contact with FEMA and will send more support if necessary.

Eight California-based Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces — each composed of 70 or more members — take part in the National Urban Search and Rescue System managed by FEMA. Members have special training in areas such as search and rescue, first aid, heavy equipment operations, canine search and rescue, hazardous materials, logistics and communications.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.