FEMA team from Vegas heads to Louisiana for hurricane relief


New Orleans Firefighters assess damage as they look through debris after a building collapsed from the effects of Hurricane Ida, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in New Orleans, La. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An urban search-and-rescue team from the Las Vegas area has been sent to Louisiana to help amid flooding and damage from Hurricane Ida.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said members of the regional Federal Emergency Management Agency unit known as Nevada Task Force 1 departed Sunday for a 24-hour drive to the Baton Rouge area.

Clark County fire Chief John Steinbeck told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the 38 team members might conduct water rescues, help with evacuations, clear debris or be pressed into service for humanitarian assistance. The assignment is expected to last up to two weeks.

The unit is one of 28 FEMA units around the nation. Local members include firefighters and civilians like a heavy equipment operator and truck driver.

Clark County fire Capt. Jasmine Ghazinour is a logistics coordinator and water rescue specialist. She said the team is taking COVID-19 precautions, including extra masks and plenty of hand sanitizer.

Ida struck the Louisiana coast on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane — one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S. mainland.

Rescuers set out Monday in boats and helicopters to reach people trapped by floodwaters, and utility crews mobilized to repair the electrical grid in and around New Orleans.

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