Elite search and rescue crew head to Florida ahead of Hurricane Dorian

As all of Florida braces for the unknown impacts of Hurricane Dorian’s growing and violent landfall, a highly trained crew of five from “Empact Northwest” will be there.
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As all of Florida braces for the unknown impacts of Hurricane Dorian’s growing and violent landfall, a highly trained crew of five from “Empact Northwest” will be there.

As all of Florida braces for the unknown impacts of Hurricane Dorian's growing and violent landfall, a highly-trained crew of five from "Empact Northwest" will be there.

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Empact Northwest is an elite team of Puget Sound based technical rescue and medical first responders who respond to natural disasters around the world.

"We can be there when the storm hits, and as soon as the storm hits we can have our team really assess what is needed," said team lead Sil Wong.

This is the 14th volunteer deployment for Wong. She says she and her team can rescue people and animals with their own search dogs. They are doctors, EMTs and search and rescue experts from across the Puget Sound region who ask for nothing where they go.

"With Empact, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are completely self-sufficient whenever we go into anywhere," Wong said.

"We pack all the gear we need for the five of us,” she said. “This includes all of our food, our tents, even stoves to cook. We are 100% capable with what we have so we don't put an extra burden on the people who are surviving this."

Wong said volunteers are leaving families and jobs not knowing how long they'll be gone, but when natural disasters call for lifesaving intervention--Empact is uniquely qualified to answer the call.

“There are components in our training that make us special,” she said. “We have the skills we can provide that not everybody has, so we know how important it is to utilize those skills.''

Empact Northwest is also 100% dependent on contributions. They are not funded by any government agency.