Colorado team of firefighters on standby to help in superstorm recovery

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A team of 80 Colorado firefighters, engineers, and medical experts are on standby to be deployed to the East Coast to assist in recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

The team, known as FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Colorado Task Force One, is packed up and prepared to be deployed with just a few hours notice.

“We’re like the elite heavy system for the national system,” said Cpt. Rod Tyus, a commander of the task force.

The group, which has been used in national emergencies including 9/11, is part of a nationwide system that encompasses firefighters specially trained in rescue missions. FEMA maintains 28 similar teams nationwide that are often deployed in natural disasters that require complicated cleanup and rescues.

“We have to make sure we can feed everybody, make sure their equipment's working," said April Walker-Stemple, a logistics coordinator for FEMA on Tuesday.

Participating Departments include Arvada Fire, Aurora Fire, Castle Rock Fire, Cunningham Fire, Denver Fire, Fort Carson Fire, Littleton Fire, Longmont Fire, Mountain View Fire, Poudre Fire Authority, Pueblo Fire Department, South Metro Fire, and Westminster Fire.