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City fire team takes on Gustav.

Byline: By MICHELLE FIDDLER Chief Reporter

A TEAM of specialist firefighters from Merseyside have flown to America to help with rescue efforts as a hurricane heads its way.

Tropical Storm Gustav, which struck the Caribbean killing 14 people earlier this week, is believed to be heading for the south coast of the US.

A state of emergency has already been declared in New Orleans.

Exactly three years ago Hurricane Katrina battered the city in Louisiana, killing 1,600 people.

Six firefighters from Croxteth Fire Station's urban search and rescue team boarded a flight today to Newark before taking a connecting flight to Houston.

They are expected to travel to southern Texas.

Each of the firefighters from Merseyside, who will be led by senior officer, Paul Murphy, is swift-water trained and also have additional specialist training in areas such as technical searches, propping buildings and medical skills.

Assistant chief fire officer Bill Evans, said: "We got a call earlier this week from the Texas taskforce which is one of the groups that make up the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We signed a memorandum of understanding with them in 2006 and agreed to mobilise a team wherever they are deployed.

"Gustav is a category 3 hurricane and has the potential to have winds of between 105-135mph plus a storm surge.

"It started in the Caribbean and is expected to hit land again as a hurricane late tomorrow. It appears to be heading towards New Orleans."

michellefiddler@liverpoolecho.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

STORM FORCE: The kind of conditions the Croxteth fire firefighters will be facing; PROUD: Assistant chief fire officer Bill Evans
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2008
Words:269
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