Fire District personnel take boats, drones to Oroville

Courtesy of MPFPD

OROVILLE (KRON) — More than a dozen personnel from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District are headed to Oroville in Butte County along with the members of the Oakland Fire Department, to assist with emergency rescue efforts due to potential flooding.

The district’s 14-person Swift Water Rescue Team and one fire mechanic will help rescuers from across the state in helping thousands of people in the Butte County area who are being evacuated because the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway could give way and flood low-lying areas.

According to fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman, all team personnel have specialized swift water and flood rescue training. The team, which is equipped with three inflatable river boats and two power watercraft, is trained to work with and from helicopters.

The team also consists of several drone pilots who are equipped with at least four drones for searching large areas.

On Sunday, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services activated all state-sponsored Swift Water Rescue Teams. In Oroville, the Menlo Park team will work from of a designated staging area.

“These types of missions are extremely unusual, but having this specialized unit pre-positioned in the area will give the incident commanders and State OES the additional capability they may need if conditions continue to deteriorate,” said fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

“The Fire District will have its specialized Air Boat, a Rigid Hull Inflatable boat and other trained personnel ready for any type of local emergency here in the Bay region and all fire stations are fully staffed,” he said.

Personnel from the Oakland Fire Department joined in on the rescue team and flood search.

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