Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
Mayor Giuliani to Send Urban Search and Rescue Team to Puerto Rico
September 14, 1997

In keeping with his strong commitment to the people of Puerto Rico, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced today that New York City's Urban Search and Rescue Team will soon share their expertise with Puerto Rico's Office of Civil Defense and Fire Department.

This two-week training mission is the latest in a series of activities Mayor Giuliani has initiated on behalf of Puerto Rico, and was planned after officials from Puerto Rico requested this assistance from the Mayor.

"Puerto Rico has experienced more than its share of disasters and tragedy over the past two years," the Mayor said, "and we are proud to continue our efforts to help its people respond to and perhaps even prevent future disasters."

In recent years, the Giuliani administration has sent a 24-member Inter-Agency Task Force, led by Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra, to the island after it suffered through the devastating Hurricane Hortense, and provided relief in the wake of Hurricanes Bertha and Luis. Most recently, Mayor Giuliani hosted a delegation of Puerto Rican officials who were interested in studying New York City's Enhanced-911 emergency response system.

The City also sent members of its Urban Search and Rescue team to assist in rescue efforts after a powerful gas explosion ripped through a San Juan shoe store in November 1996. The explosion killed 18 people and injured at least 85.

In response to such disasters, and to improve their response in the future, Puerto Rican officials recently purchased nearly a half-million dollars worth of rescue and life-saving equipment.

A five-person assessment team, comprised of members of New York City's Police and Fire Departments, and the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, has been reviewing the needs of Puerto Rico's emergency response agencies. Once the assessment team identifies their needs, the New York City Urban Search and Rescue Team will return to Puerto Rico to provide intensive training to their counterparts.

The training will focus on the use of the new equipment, as well as on advanced search and rescue techniques.

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