An elite search and rescue team of Southern California firefighters was on alert to rush to Nepal, which was ravaged by an earthquake that killed over 1,000 people Saturday morning.
California Task Force 2 was put on standby following a nearly 8-magnitude earthquake that leveled buildings in the capital of Nepal and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest. It also killed people in neighboring countries.
The team of about 65 firefighters, most from Los Angeles County, has been deployed to other disaster zones, including Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people.
"Everybody's grabbing their gear. (The notification) just means to stand by," Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan said. "They have not been ordered to respond."
Jordan said the California Task Force 2 team was preparing for possible deployment at the county fire's Urban Search And Rescue Headquarters in the San Fernando Valley.
Most of the team comes from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, with at least one rescue dog handler from Santa Barbara County, a Los Angeles County Fire dispatcher said. It is run by the U.S.'s Federal Emergency Management Association.
In 2011, the team spent six days in Japan searching for tsunami victims on the northeast coast of Japan's main island.
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California Task Force 2 had traveled to New Zealand the month before to assist search and rescue efforts following a deadly earthquake in Christchurch.