The Puget Sound Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) deployed to the East Coast to help in the wake of superstorm Sandy was deactivated before loading the plane Wednesday, Woodinville Fire & Rescue officials said.
The , Woodinville Fire Department spokesman David Weed said.
According to Weed, the USAR team was activated on Wednesday and began gathering their equipment to load onto an airplane for the flight to the east coast. During this time, FEMA was evaluating the progress of the USAR teams already on location. It was determined that the existing USAR teams were completing their tasks ahead of schedule and would have most everything wrapped up by Thursday or Friday.
As a result, the Puget Sound team was deactivated before loading the plane. The Puget Sound USAR team was not the only team to have this happen. The Phoenix USAR team was also deactivated while they were preparing to leave. (See that story here
It is not uncommon for this to occur, Weed said. Given the changing conditions and the travel distance to the relief area, the activation and deployment of USAR teams are constantly evaluated and may be deactivated prior to deployment. This keeps teams available in the likelihood another disaster strikes and they are needed in another location.