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LA County Firefighters Head to New Zealand for Quake Rescue & Recovery

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Yesterday's devastating 6.3-magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand has impacted many people world-wide, and now Los Angeles is reaching out with assistance in the form of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s 74-member California Task Force 2 team, who deployed in the evening to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts there. This morning, the official death toll remains at 75, however hundreds of people remain missing, buried beneath the rubble.

The task force set up a staging area in Pacoima Tuesday afternoon. The LA crew is one of the most highly-trained unit of its kind in the nation, and were requested by the US Agency for International Development to go to New Zealand. "The team is made up of firefighters and paramedics rescue specialists, emergency room physicians, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, hazardous materials technicians, communications specialists and logistics specialists," explains ABC7. They will be focusing on "heavy rescue" operations.

LA County Supervisor Don Knabe issued a statement about the deployment:

"The Los Angeles County Fire Department is highly prepared and equipped to deal with a natural disasters. Given the devastating events that have occurred in the New Zealand, I am proud that Los Angeles County has been called upon to share our expertise in assisting with relief efforts and helping to save lives."