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First responders help with rescue, cleanup during disaster

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SALT LAKE CITY -- When natural disasters like superstorm Sandy strike, response teams from around the country head out to help with rescue and clean up.

Bill Brass, program manager for Utah Task Force One says one first responder from Utah is on the East Coast to help.

"Normally when we arrive, we will get an assignment from our incident support team. It's an advance team. It will give us geographical areas we will go in and search. The primary mission is to rescue live victims from collapsed structures," he said.

"Right now they just have to get their arms around everything. They have no idea what the devastation is, how many people are trapped, what the situation is, where they can set up," he said.

Communication has to be precise. "Right now those first responders are doing the best jobs that they can. But a lot of their resources are just overwhelmed, Brass said.

The Utah team also had two canines in Virginia for a test. They are stranded there, so will be given an assignment. It's possible more members of the Utah team could be called to help at some point.

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Scott Haws


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