NEWBURYPORT — Acting Chief Stephen H. Bradbury III is pleased to share that Newburyport Firefighter Fred Elwell assisted in search and rescue operations in Florida following Hurricane Ian earlier this month.
Elwell, his wife, Laureen Elwell, and K9 Sasha are members of FEMA Massachusetts Task Force 1, which is based in Beverly. They were among 46 team members and three canines activated following the devastating storm. The Elwells and Sasha arrived in Fort Myers, Florida, on Oct. 3 and spent five days working on operations and integrating with law enforcement and emergency services partners on the ground. The Fort Myers area was among the hardest hit in the state.
Fred Elwell served as Search Team Manager, overseeing task force search functions, the Canine Search Specialist and Technical Search Specialist. The Search Team Manager reports directly to the Task Force Leader.
Laureen Elwell is a Canine Search Specialist (CSS) as well as handler of Sasha, a FEMA certified Human Remains Detection K9. The Canine Support Specialist aids search operations and is responsible for the care and welfare of the K9 during deployment. The CSS reports to the Search Team Manager.
MA-TF1 is one of 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams nationally. Task Force teams include firefighters, medical professionals, canine handlers, engineers, physicians, technical rescue technicians, and civilians with specialized skills.
“We’re proud of Fred, Laureen, and Sasha for responding to these crises, and for using their skills and expertise to assist when they are needed most,” Chief Bradbury said.