ATLANTA, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed its Atlanta-based Federal Incident Response Support Team (FIRST) to provide essential communications to the evacuees and emergency management leadership at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The team is among the many federal resources and assets mobilized to assist in the federal response to the wildfires that triggered the largest mass evacuation in California history.
Early this morning, the four-member team, along with two mobile high-tech communications vehicles, boarded a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft at Dobbins ARB for the nearly seven-hour flight. FIRST will support the federal leadership as they coordinate emergency support for the thousands of evacuees who have sought shelter at the stadium by ensuring essential communications channels remain accessible and operational. In addition to computers and cell phones, the self-contained vehicles include state-of -the-art satellite technology that will provide video-teleconferencing capability at the stadium to federal officials as they communicate with state and local emergency response officials.
There are two FIRSTs in the nation, one based in Atlanta and the other in Chicago. FIRST Atlanta most recently deployed for the February tornadoes in Florida, the March tornadoes in Alabama, and Hurricane Dean in August.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.