Pasadena firefighter discusses disaster preparedness amid Florence landfall

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Watching Florence hit, Captain Robert Sepulveda knows very well the devastation that people in the affected areas of the Carolinas will face.

Sepulveda is a firefighter in the Pasadena Fire Department and part of the Urban Search and Rescue team that has traveled to several hurricanes.

Exactly one year ago this week, he was in Florida dealing with Hurricane Irma. Photos show his team searching for survivors as they had to get to homes in boats.

"You can drive up to a certain point, but then you're going to need boat access to actually go out and search for people who are stranded, and that's kind of what we all saw in Irma," Sepulveda said.

The team had to use chainsaws and handsaws to cut trees to search through homes.

Sepulveda said he saw wind damage, overturned boats and boats on highways.

September is National Preparedness Month and Sepulveda said Florence hitting should be a wake-up call.

The items needed to survive a hurricane is what will be needed after an earthquake.

"You want to make sure that you have a full tank of gas, food, water, supplies, extra batteries and make sure you have a plan," Sepulveda said.
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