SF Coast Guards head to hurricane Gustav

August 31, 2008 1:34:45 PM PDT
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and four-member crew are leaving Air Station San Francisco this morning to travel to Houston in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav.

The crew will be working with Coast Guard personnel from around the country and several California-based units are on standby status to provide disaster assistance.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Alan Haraf said the crew will stage at Air Station Houston until they know where the storm is going to hit, and that the team will primarily provide search and rescue assistance.

The Category 3 hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime Monday along the Golf Coast, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA has announced that federal aid is available in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas to supplement state and local response efforts to the hurricane.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has called for a mandatory evacuation of the city, saying Gustav may be stronger then Hurricane Katrina.

In a statement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner said, "We continue to remind Gulf Coast residents about the importance of taking precautionary measures to prepare for an emergency situation or evacuation as Gustav approaches our shores."

The Coast Guard HH-65 helicopter and crew were leaving this morning from their station at San Francisco International Airport.

In addition to the Coast Guard crew, Bay Area firefighters are among members of a state task force team that has been deployed to Houston to assist with search and rescue efforts.


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