All PA personnel deployed to assist in Hurricane Matthew return to PA


Harrisburg, PA – The final group of Pennsylvania personnel who deployed to southern states to assist emergency responders after Hurricane Matthew returned to Pennsylvania yesterday.

PA Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue (PA-TF1 US&R) arrived at the Philadelphia Fire Department Special Operations Center after a ten-day deployment conducting dozens of evacuations in multiple communities in North Carolina.

“In Pennsylvania we are blessed with talented and experienced personnel who are more than qualified to bring this kind of support to other states in need,” said Governor Wolf. “This process shows Pennsylvania’s best and brightest to help those in need and prepare our personnel for the worst realities.”

In addition to PA-TF1, the PA Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (PAHART) deployed to South Carolina and state meteorologist Jeff Jumper went to Florida to assist that state’s emergency management meteorological team.

“These deployments allow each team member do what they love and help others,” said Richard D. Flinn Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “It’s a serious commitment that takes them away from their own homes and families, and we cannot thank them enough for their dedication to service.”

PA-TF1 USAR is one of 28 certified, operational and deployable federal assets of the National Urban Search and Rescue System established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.

The PAHART is a joint partnership between the Pennsylvania Army National Guard (PAANG), the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) along with credentialed civilian rescue technicians. This highly trained aerial search and water rescue team provides an air asset for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the nation to respond to natural and manmade disasters or incidents. Team members receive technical training that prepares them to carry out their mission in unfavorable environmental conditions in both the urban and wilderness setting.

The requests for assistance from PAHART and the state meteorologist were made via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a formal agreement that allows states to share resources, such as personnel or equipment, during disasters. All costs associated with an EMAC deployment are paid by the requesting state. Costs for the PA-TF1 US&R deployment will be reimbursed through FEMA.