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September 21, 2005

ARCHIVE: Disaster Response


Clark County Disaster Response Team

Clark County Disaster Response Team

One of the Clark County Disaster Response Teams deployed to Mississippi has returned from hurricane relief efforts. Now another Clark County team is preparing to leave for hurricane preparations in Texas. KNPR's Ky Plaskon reports.

PLASKON: Las Vegas sent a 70-person team including police officers to the Gulf Coast for Hurricane Katrina Relief efforts. All most all of them are back now. But Nevada is part of a 13-year old network of cities that rotate on call for disasters. This month it's Nevada's turn and that means the work's not over yet.

GREEN: You will see them here with their yellow shirts and we are quite popular with our yellow shirts. We will make you proud.

PLASKON: Members of the FEMA disaster task force were recognized this morning at the Clark County Commission. They also announced that Texas needs them now to prepare for hurricane Rita.

WERT: Right we just got back and we had a ten day deployment trying to save lives and trying to get to every house we could get to.

PLASKON: Brian Wert is a structural specialist with Wright Engineers. He's one of the 30-member task force including fire fighters, architects and doctors that will head out tomorrow. His specialty is making sure that the structures are safe before rescue workers go in. He can build up shoring in earthquakes for instance. New Orleans was different though.

WERT: In this situation we are breaking in through roofs and getting to victims that way.

PLASKON: He said rescue workers had to wear protective gear because of all the toxic materials in floodwaters. That won't be the case in Texas.

WERT: This time they expect a lot more structural failures. That is why they need us to go down there.

GREEN: I am not part of the specialized team, I am jut the brain and the good looks and I handle all the headaches.

PLASKON: Earl Green County Fire Chief. He says even though the team doesn't usually deal with Hurricanes, it sure is ready now after Katrina.

GREEN: Oh definitely they just how we store all of our equipment, the tactics that we use and as a mater of fact other teams adopted some of the tactics that we use any time you are deployed you realize what your strengths and weaknesses are.

PLASKON: He says officials aren't sure where the hurricane will but the federal government has taken a proactive approach of activating 7 or 8 similar teams from around the country for Hurricane Rita. The Clark County Commission also issued proclamations to Harrah's for offering hotel rooms to hurricane victims, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, the United Way and for the Red Cross the county not only issued a proclamation, but voted to donated 15-thousand dollars to the organization for it's relief efforts. According to County manager Tom Reilly, the money came from county employees who decided to give up their annual picnic.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

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