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Los Angeles Sets up Task Force to Aid Quake Victims in Chile

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The Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD) set up a 74-member task force on Monday as part of efforts to aid quake victims in Chile.

The Urban Search And Rescue task force was mobilizing for deployment to Chile to help in the aftermath of the magnitude-8.8 earthquake, said county fire Inspector Matt Levesque.

He said exact departure time and flight arrangements would be established soon.

The task force consists of Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters and paramedic rescue specialists, emergency room physicians, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, search dogs and handlers, hazardous materials technicians, and communications and logistics specialists.

The team responds with 55,000 pounds of prepackaged tools and medical equipment to conduct around-the-clock search-and-rescue operations at domestic and international disasters, according to the LACFD.

California Task Force 2's commanders received the request for assistance from the US Agency for International Development ( USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The county fire team will be accompanied by eight USAID members.

The same task force deployed for earthquake assistance in Haiti, Levesque said. It was unclear if any of the same personnel who went to Haiti would also be going to Chile, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2010)

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