Gov. Wolf Welcomes Home PA Task Force 1 from Deployment to Hurricane Ravaged Florida

October 12, 2022

Gov. Tom Wolf today welcomed home members of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PATF-1) from their two-week deployment to Florida to support communities ravaged by Hurricane Ian and thanked them for their heroic efforts. The members arrived in Philadelphia this afternoon. 

“Hurricane Ian devastated many communities in Florida but even before the historic storm made landfall, Pennsylvania stood ready and willing to assist. PA Task Force 1 answered that call,” Gov. Wolf said. “On behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I want to express my gratitude to these selfless individuals who dedicate themselves to helping others in need and even risk their own safety to support critical operations following natural disasters. I also thank their loved ones for their sacrifice while these heroes go and help others at a moment’s notice.” 

“It is reassuring to know that we have such a highly trained group of professionals who can respond to disasters here in Pennsylvania and across the nation,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield. “We are grateful for their willingness to serve their neighbors in their time of need.”

Two members of PATF-1 were activated on September 17 as part of the Urban Search & Rescue Incident Support Team for Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Both members were transferred to Hurricane Ian and arrived in Miami on September 25. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated the 45-member Pennsylvania-Task Force 1 for Hurricane Ian on September 28. PATF-1 was originally sent to Columbia, SC to stage for potential impacts from Hurricane Ian. When it was realized that South Carolina did not need support, the team was transferred to Florida. Two additional support personnel from PATF-1 were activated on October 1, 2022.

The PATF-1 team operated predominantly in the Fort Myers Beach area, conducting wide area searches to look for survivors and human remains in what has been one of the deadliest hurricanes in Florida and U.S. history. Their last operation period was working on Sanibel Island, doing the same search and rescue work.

PATF-1 is one of 28 teams that are part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System and is a federal resource that can quickly be mobilized to deploy to incidents anywhere in the country. The team is sponsored by the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Photos of the homecoming will be available on pacast.com

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