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Two Bay Area water rescue teams response to Texas hurricane disaster

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Red Cross worker Katrina Dirscherl talks with Oralia Guerra and Diamond Robinson as they huddle together to stay warm underneath Red Cross blankets at the George Brown Convention Center on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News/TNS) NO MAGAZINE SALES MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; INTERNET USE BY TNS CONTRIBUTORS ONLY
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Two water rescue teams from the Bay Area are going to Texas to help with the federal response to Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall late Friday in the Houston area as a Category 4 storm, fire officials said.

A team from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District left at 6 p.m. Sunday and as of 8 a.m. today was about 1,000 miles from Austin, Texas, where they will get their assignments.

As of midday, rescuers in Texas had made 2,211 high-water rescues, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which serves the Houston area.

Federal officials have activated all 28 federal task forces, which include the two Bay Area water rescue teams. Along with Menlo Park, the other Bay Area team is from Oakland.

“This is the most significant national response event since Hurricane Katrina and as such is generating a top shelf federal and state magnitude of water rescue response and supporting resources,” Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement.

Several team members from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District responded to Hurricane Katrina while others responded to other disasters such as flooding in the Central Valley.

The team took five vehicles, 10 boats and three drones with them.

A team from Oakland was briefed this weekend before it was to deploy to the disaster, Oakland firefighters said.

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