Los Angeles firefighters head out to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey

SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- While Tropical Storm Harvey continues to pound the Texas coast, local search and rescue crews gathered up supplies and gear to head out to the state to help.

Pallets stacked with food, water and fuel were loaded up in Sherman Oaks as crews got ready for the long haul Saturday night. California Task Force 1 will head out to help the people impacted by the devastating storm system.

The task force is bracing for extraordinary amounts of rain in the next few days, which means swift water rescue boats will be vital.

"It could be people that are stuck on rooftops. It could be people that are trapped or people that are just out in the middle of an open water area and can't find a place to get help," said Patrick Butler, assistant chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Search K-9s will also be out on the job. Many of the people on the task force have years of experience responding to natural and man-made disasters.

"They are veterans of the World Trade Center, Katrina, Rita, the Oklahoma City bombing," Butler said.

California Task Force 5 from Orange County is in San Antonio waiting for assignment. They're prepared to be in Texas as long as necessary.

"It's important for us to be able to go into every single area that's been impacted from the rains and from the flood waters to make sure that everybody has been accounted for," said Shane Sherwood, battalion chief with the Orange County Fire Authority.

Sherwood added the task force expects heavy rain and flooding will devastate many areas, but they're ready to save lives.

"We've made the long journey, now we're ready to get out and do what we came to do, which is use our skills and expertise and make a difference," he said.

It took Sherwood's task force 29 hours to get to San Antonio because it's slow going taking the equipment with them. The two groups expect to be in Texas for at least two weeks or more.
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