Local emergency task forces return home after aiding Hurricane Sandy victims

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers on Friday announced the safe return of 80 officials with the Pennsylvania Task Force One, which is comprised of members of the Philadelphia Fire Department and 26 other participating agencies in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The team was deployed by FEMA on Oct. 29 to complete 11 days of humanitarian aid in the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New York City area.

“The city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Fire Department became the sponsoring agency to lead and direct all task force operations earlier this year,” Ayers said in a statement. “This represents the first full task force activation under our leadership and direction. The members of Task Force One served selflessly in support of the immediate needs of the citizens of the Northeast.” He said that the task force conducted search and reconnaissance missions in Nassau County and distributed water, food and blankets to particularly hard-hit areas of New York City.

Ayers also announced on Friday the homecoming of the Pennsylvania EMS Strike Team and volunteers with the Philadelphia Second Alarmers, which on Nov. 2 deployed medic units and emergency vehicles to Jersey City to help handle emergency calls.

The Second Alarmers set up a first responders rehab center that prepared and served over 5,400 meals to emergency personnel during their weeklong stay, while the strike team manned 911 calls in the city, whose response resources were depleted by the storm. “In keeping with their mission statement of responding to emergency scenes and providing food and beverages to emergency personnel no matter where they are at,” the fire department said in a statement, “These dedicated individuals responded to a 2-alarm and a 4-alarm fire in Jersey City.”