DENVER, Colo. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent personnel and equipment from Denver to assist with wildfire response and recovery efforts in California.
The team consisted of five individuals and four pieces of communications equipment from FEMA's Denver-based Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS). The team left Thursday morning and is driving to California. Once they arrive, the group will support FEMA's wildfire response and recovery efforts at the agency's Joint Field Office (JFO) in Pasadena, Calif. Two MERS computer specialists also flew to California on Wednesday to support FEMA's disaster work.
The MERS team headed to California includes the following equipment:
- 1 KU-band satellite system. The trailer-mounted antenna provides multiple voice and data capabilities, allowing FEMA disaster workers to set up phone and Internet operations from the field.
- 1 Mobile Emergency Operations Vehicle (MEOV) which provides additional voice and data capabilities, work stations, and video teleconferencing capabilities.
- 1 ACU-1000 which provides interoperability for different radio systems. This can enhance the radio communications between the multiple local, state and federal agencies responding to the wildfires.
- 1 Lead Sport Utility Vehicle with Satellite phone capabilities.
"This equipment makes it easier for local, state and federal agencies to communicate with each other," said Denver MERS Chief Norm Winterowd. "Good communication is always one of the most important elements of disaster response."
It is unclear how long the Denver-based team will be deployed to California. The team has responded to numerous disasters in the past, including Hurricane Katrina and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
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.