Virginia Task Force 2 heads to Kentucky, assists in search and rescue efforts

Virginia Beach Task Force 2.PNG
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 06:23:48-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Search and rescue efforts are continuing after catastrophic flood waters battered parts of Kentucky.

Right now, members of the Virginia Task Force 2 on the ground in Kentucky, working to help in the relief efforts.

Thursday, eight members of the Virginia Task Force 2 left Hampton Roads and drove through the night for over 10 hours to bring equipment and supplies to Kentucky.

Dozens of people in Kentucky have died and many homes and buildings were destroyed by flood waters.

Rob Darling, a Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief, has been with the Virginia Task Force 2 for 15 years and said he's responded to several natural disasters.

Darling said this time, they drove communication equipment to the command staff who are working to organize the search and research efforts. The supplies, including computers, phones and projectors, will help with the tactical and strategic planning of relief operations.

Darling also said many of the people who come to help are from other parts of the country.

Monday News 3 spoke to Shelly Jamison, the Blue Incident Support Team PIO for FEMA.

“I will tell you that your teams from Virginia are some of the most highly respected in the FEMA system. They are extremely experienced and skilled, they come with great equipment and are literally revered by the system,” Jamison said.

She said the community has been devastated by the flood waters.

Over the years, Virginia Task Force 2 has responded to all kinds of tragedies and natural disasters. News 3 interviewed the team when they went to Surfside, Florida after a high-rise building collapsed; they've also gone to Puerto Rico several times, and responded to Haiti after the earthquake.

Darling said they may come back Friday but say they will not leave until the mission is complete.

According to the Virginia Task Force 2 website: The National Urban Search and Rescue System was established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1989. It is a framework for structuring local emergency service personnel into integrated disaster response task forces. Virginia Task Force 2 is a specialized rescue organization comprised of highly trained Firefighters, Technical Rescue Technicians, EMS Personnel, Canine Handlers, Engineers and Physicians from various cities and departments located throughout the region; such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, James City County, Henrico County, Navy Regional, Newport News, Norfolk, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg and York County.