Bay Area fire captain among team sent to Oklahoma

Capt. Steven Promes, a member of Oakland-based California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4, is providing transportation and logistics support to three rescue teams that have responded to Okalahoma from Texas, Tennessee and Nebraska, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Robert Lipp said Tuesday.

Lipp said that despite "extreme devastation" at the scene -- where a two-mile wide hurricane killed dozens when it touched town and spread a debris field around 20 miles long -- it is unlikely that any full California search-and-rescue teams will be deployed.

"It sounds like they are going to have all the personnel they need," he said.

A spokesman for a second Bay Area urban search and rescue team said that the 80-person task force based in Menlo Park will remain on standby throughout the week in case the Federal Emergency Management Agency calls in for more resources.

The team includes firefighters, paramedics, canine search dogs, and structural engineers and is ready to deploy in six to eight hours, California Task Force 3 program director Tim Campbell said.

There are 28 USAR teams nationwide that can be called on by FEMA to assist with major disasters. The last time the Menlo Park team was deployed was in 2008, after Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf States.

More help is heading to the Okalahoma area in the form of donations, according to the Bay Area Chapter of the Red Cross.

San Jose Sharks fans are being encouraged to donate funds as part of a collection drive at tonight's game, team officials said.

Donations for tornado victims will be collected at the street rally prior to the Sharks game, as well as at entrances to HP Pavilion and at Sharks Foundation booths inside.

The Red Cross is accepting $10 pledges from people who text "REDCROSS" to 90999. People can also donate at the organization's website.

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