California First Responders Head to East Coast as Residents Brace for Flooding

FAIRFIELD -- As Hurricane Florence continues to flood the Mid-Atlantic coastal cities, California’s first responders are heading out to help in search and rescue missions.

"Eight water rescues teams that have been dispatched, 16 people each, that are almost there or already arrived," said Kim Zagaris with Cal OES.

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring storm surges and flooding to portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states within the next few days.

This is the fifth time in weeks search and rescue teams from the state have been sent to hurricanes, including Hurricane Lane and Hurricane Olivia in Hawaii.

"The water rescue folks that have all been requested were requested through FEMA and the search and rescue program," Zagaris said.

Tara Ricks, who spent fours years living in California before moving to North Carolina, says she’s one of thousands preparing for impending floods.

"We need to make sure that we can one get out and two if we lose electricity we have enough supplies," Ricks told FOX40 Thursday.

The California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing also sent maintenance crews, a helicopter and equipment to help with the aid. Some crews are heading out Friday morning and staying on board to help for weeks.

With damaging winds and rain expected, it’s relief for people, like Ricks, knowing it’s all hands on deck.

"An emergency can either really unite you or break you, and lately I've only seen it’s united us," Ricks told FOX40.

Travis Air Force Base also has personnel on standby to assist if needed.

While crews heading out to the East Coast could be there for weeks, first responders in Hawaii are expected back to the states in the next few days.