Task Force 2, which recently returned from New Zealand, where members helped with post-quake work there, began gearing up Friday to go to Japan at its urban-search-and-rescue headquarters in Pacoima. The 75-member team, mobilizing at the request of the United States Agency for International Development, left early Saturday, along with about 45,000 pounds of gear.
The task force, which draws on a pool of some 140 members, includes some firefighters who just returned from New Zealand. Others will be fresh, fire officials said.
A swiftwater rescue team was part of the contingent, in case firefighters have to work in tsunami-inundated areas.
The team, which carries all its own gear, including food, is made up of firefighters, paramedics, emergency room doctors, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, hazardous materials technicians, and communications and logistics specialists.