PHOENIX - Two FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams on the East Coast have already deployed to the Southeast to help with the mess made by Hurricane Andrew, along with two teams in Florida.
Thursday night, FEMA’s Arizona team is on standby to go.
If the Arizona team is activated, its members have to load up and be on the road within four hours. If they fly -- and that’s a big “if” -- they have only six hours to get ready.
“We would move this entire cache… would be loaded on to the semi-trailers out here and a 70-person team would be activated and brought to this location,” said Deputy Chief Scott Grane with the Phoenix Fire Department’s Special Operations.
Arizona Task Force Team 1 is in "ready to deploy" mode, as Matthew churns.
“We are updated regularly by the program office in D.C.,” he said.
The team could be deployed at any time. As of Thursday night, they are third or fourth in line.
“We have MRE’s and it’s enough for three meals a day,” said Captain Mark Tirman, Cache and Training Manager for AZ-TF1.
From sleeping bags and cots to generators that would power their camp and office, they have it all.
“We have computers, we have printers, everything to actually communicate,” said Tirman.
The equipment would enable the team to set up its own satellites and a radio system, so they could operate just like Phoenix FD operates here at home.
Meanwhile, one Tempe couple is counting their blessings after barely missing Matthew.
“It was definitely a wedding and a honeymoon to remember,” said Shelby Knoer, who is now back from the danger zone with her husband Dustin.
“We were in Montego Bay, Jamaica,” he said. “Every storm cloud that was coming over was more massive than we would see. It was like a purple haboob basically.”
Big waves and heavy rain kept them inside their hotel for most of it.
“We downloaded the hurricane tracker, everything. We were very worried,” she said. “We didn’t want to obviously not make it home to our kids.”
In the end, they brought home Sandals necklaces for winning a couple’s competition.
They made the most of it, knowing they barely escaped the hurricane.
“It was headed for Jamaica, like right for it,” he said. “It just literally curved right by it, like all the prayers were answered … it feels good to be home.”
“We’re happy to be back,” she said.
It is definitely a honeymoon story they will remember forever.
12 News will let you know if the Arizona team does end up heading to the East Coast in what is likely to be a lengthy cleanup process.
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