Fairfax Co. search and rescue team returning from Japan

Saturday - 3/19/2011, 4:01pm EDT

WASHINGTON - The elite urban search rescue team from Fairfax County that was assisting in the efforts following the earthquake and tsunami and Japan will be returning to the United States early Sunday morning.

Virginia Task Force 1 was in Japan for about seven days, and will returning to Dulles International Airport around 1:45 a.m.

The 74 member teams was mobilized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and arrived in Japan on March 13.

The team worked in and around Ofunato, a seaport city with a population of about 40,000.

They deployed with about 32 tons of equipment, and transferred nearly $145,000 of equipment to the Ofunato fire department beforehand. The group also had six dogs with them and a compliment of swift water boats.

The equipment includes four zodiac boat kits, 16 kerosene heaters, 160 cots and 160 sleeping bags.

The department is frequently called on to assist following international disasters. Last year, Fairfax team members conducted 16 successful rescues in Haiti following the earthquake there.

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