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Jumping Right In


Bravest and finest. Two words you’ve seen associated with police officers and firefighters. (In fact, that’s what they’re referred to in New York City. New York’s bravest are those with the FDNY, the finest are with NYPD.)

Those are also two words we’d often use to describe the first responders with know and work with.

As floodwaters leftover from Hurricane Matthew continue to rise in some places, we have deployed some of the country’s bravest and finest into those waters to help impacted communities.

Over the last several days, the ten teams we’ve deployed from Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia have all jumped right in to help respond. As of today, they’ve completed 75 water rescues.

These teams were deployed to help their state and local brothers and sisters—as they also have been working tirelessly to rescue people who were put in harm’s way by rushing water.

Check out this video of one of our teams in action.

Water rescues by FEMA USAR teams ongoing in Lumberton, NC #Matthew

— femaregion4 (@femaregion4) October 10, 2016

Bravest and finest, for sure.

We have 28 of these teams standing by, ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s the way the system was designed. There are always 28 teams ready to go, each with at least 140 members.

The training is tough, the jobs are tough.

The jobs are worth it.

These teams, they’re made up of first responders from the communities you know and live in.

Virginia’s Task Force 1, part of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, saw action as part of the response to the Nepal earthquake when they were deployed by the US Agency for International Development. (They are one of very few internationally-trained teams that can go abroad and perform search and rescue.)

Our newest team, the one from New Jersey, has members hailing from each of the state’s 21 counties.

Becoming a team isn’t easy. Besides going through all the standard training and requirements to become an officer or firefighter, there are particular FEMA trainings to undergo as well.

New Jersey’s team, after a vacancy opened, went through a process for nearly a year to be deemed ready and able to deploy as a federal asset. Now, just weeks after getting word that they were officially part of the federal system, they got the call. They really jumped right in.

We’re extremely grateful for these teams and the people who serve on them. It’s a hard job, taking them away from their hometowns and their families, but their service definitely does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

(And as a friendly reminder, if you’re returning home to an impacted area, please remember this very catchy phrase: Turn Around, Don’t Drown. It could save your life.)


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Last Updated: 
07/08/2017 - 10:22


Dear sirs, I'm a recent retiree from the Bureau of Reclamation. I would like to assist in any hurricane Matthew disaster relief work. I have worked a few disasters in the recent past. I assisted COE with disasters in Ok. City, as well as provided Health and Safety assignments for the Columbia recovery operations. I would like some information on whom to contact in regard to this disaster. Respectfully, Bill Baca

me and my team where been trained to rescue and ready to jumping right in. Where trained to rescue from water to land and tacticang rescuer.

How can a small business be considered in helping with the disaster areas?

how do we get help in florida after matthew

Hello, My name is Mike Griffith and I was wondering if there are ways to help the people in need in the North Carolina. Thank you

when is Horry County in SC going to be declared a Federally disater? thanks.

I was so happy and overjoyed and appreciative of the FEMA response teams. Team New York, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey they rescued our people from South Lumberton and we could not have survived without them. I mean when I saw those trucks pull up I had no idea they were going to set up and pay close attention to every request to get my residents out of danger. they were friendly, caring and professional and I mean even when there were some that did not want to come out they knew who to send to persuade them that it was time to leave. Im so grateful for them. I really am. I was sad to see them leave. I kept saying can you come back tomorrow and help! they said "if they call we will come!" Thank you a million times for your efforts. i mean all of them deserve a raise. The Vet Doctor she was on point. My mom died from Sandy and being in Matthew I see what she had to go thru. Bless you all!

I would like to know how to apply for a position to be paid to work in North Carolina for the Hurricane Mathew cleanup, organization.

Do I qualify?

I'm a retired FDNY firefighter living in North Carolina and interested in working or volunteering in my state and would like info on same.

I'm a retired civil service employee with FEMA detail experience. I would like to apply to assist on any of the disaster details, but not sure who to contact. Please advise. Thank you!

My lights were out for three days.