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L.A. Search and Rescue Units Deploy to Japan

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The Los Angeles County Urban Search and Rescue team is headed to Japan following one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history.

Hundreds are feared dead after an 8.9 earthquake and tsunami generating powerful waves as high as 23 feet rattled northeastern Japan (our full coverage here and here.

The 70-plus members and will include a heavy team and a swift-water rescue component, according to L.A. County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Sam Padilla.

Once the team is in Japan, it will conduct around-the-clock search and rescue operations in the coming days to help find and treat any survivors.

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The USAR team that just returned from New Zealand to assist in the aftermath of last month's deadly Christchurch earthquake gets a break as different personnel is being deployed to Japan. Friday's 8.9 earthquake in Japan was about 8,000 times more powerful than the 6.3 that killed an estimated 200 last month in Christchurch.

The powerful earthquake and tsunami is another reminder to prepare yourself to be of assistance should disaster strike closer to home.