An extra $10 million secured for Urban Search and Rescue teams, DeSantis announces in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis visited Jacksonville Monday morning, announcing that an extra $10 million has been secured for Florida’s Urban Search and Rescue teams.

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Jacksonville Fire Station #50, home to Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 5, is one of the eight teams that will see this funding. The task force is made up of 250 members.

DeSantis was joined by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.

The funding, recently signed into the budget, will help improve equipment, the cost of vehicles, allow for more training opportunities and impact storm recovery.

“When you have an event, particularly like a hurricane, you obviously want to get people to physical safety -- but after that you have to get the power back on,” DeSantis said.

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After the collapse of the Surfside condo last year, DeSantis said it’s critical this level of funding is present.

“These teams provide great assistance when you have major events,” DeSantis said.

He said the firefighters and first responders in the state deserve to be recognized.

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Chief Powers expressed his gratitude to DeSantis, Patronis and Guthrie.

“This funding goes a long way,” Powers said. “I want to thank you all for what you’re doing in supporting our first responders.”

But that wasn’t the only big announcement.

The governor shared that $1,000 bonuses will be given out for every firefighter in the state, for the second straight year.

“These men and women -- they sacrifice so much time away from their families to do the training that’s required to be on the Florida task force,” Chief Keith Powers of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said. “But also by doing that, it helps these men and women keep Floridians safe.”

Governor DeSantis wants to remind everyone to take advantage of Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. The holiday ends on June 10.

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“I just want to say to all the search and rescue teams here in Florida -- thank you for what you’ve done,” DeSantis said.