You are here

FEMA suspends PHX SAR team over bringing in own security

FEMA has suspended the Phoenix Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue team because they brought in armed cops:

At issue is a rule in FEMA's Code of Conduct that prohibits Urban Search and Rescue teams from having firearms. Phoenix's team that deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief and again for Hurricane Rita included four police officers deputized as U.S. marshals.
Phoenix police were added to the team about a year ago, and officials say they are essential to protecting firefighters and FEMA's $1.4 million worth of equipment. Firefighters do not carry weapons...
...After Hurricane Katrina, firefighters faced deployment to areas plagued by looting and lawlessness. Twice, Phoenix's team was confronted by law enforcement officers who refused to let them pass through their communities and told them to "get out or get shot," Gordon said...
Phoenix's team was credited with plucking more than 400 Hurricane Katrina survivors from rooftops and freeway overpasses in flooded sections of New Orleans.