Los Angeles search and rescue group returns from Turkey following earthquake

Search-and-rescue employees from Los Angeles have returned from Turkey after spending weeks aiding within the aftermath of the area’s large earthquake, which killed tens of hundreds of individuals and displaced lots of of hundreds extra.

More than 80 Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel have been dispatched Feb. 6 as a part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, which included a search-and-rescue squad from Fairfax, Va., after the magnitude 7.8 quake that devastated Turkey and northern Syria that day.

The L.A. County and Virginia crews are the one such groups within the nation that qualify below the USAID program to help in worldwide catastrophe response.

“DART led the effort to search for survivors in Adiyaman [Turkey] and surrounding areas by using sensitive cameras, listening devices, search-and-rescue canines, and other specialized equipment,” the Los Angeles County Fire Department mentioned in a information launch Tuesday saying the group’s return.

The crew assessed greater than 6,000 buildings, together with hospitals and houses, surveying dozens of buildings a day to find out whether or not they have been protected for residents to maneuver again inside.

“It’s a major psychological challenge,” Joshua Svensson, a civil engineer with the L.A. County Department of Public Works who was dispatched to the area, lately instructed The Times. “It’s a heavy responsibility, but we will go to these houses and say, ‘I would sleep here.’ Offering people that peace of mind is a big deal.”

They additionally carried out hours of tunneling work at buildings the place they detected indicators of life and consulted with native personnel on rescue makes an attempt.

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department additionally deployed seven members of its search-and-rescue program, who arrived in Turkey on Feb. 10, in keeping with a information launch.

They labored primarily in Antakya in Hatay province, one of many areas hit hardest by the quake, which has killed greater than 47,000 folks within the two international locations. The employees returned to the U.S. on Feb. 15.

Mike Leum, assistant director for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, has been a search-and-rescue reserve deputy for 30 years.

“It was a week of triumph and tragedy,” Leum mentioned. The group, he mentioned, rescued three folks: a 52-year-old mom and her 18-year-old son, in addition to a 17-year-old boy. “There were deceased people, but having three live finds were worth it,” he mentioned.

The Sheriff’s Department search-and-rescue group labored with about 150 different personnel from Turkey and different international locations, Leum mentioned.