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Private organization works to help respond in the first 72 hours

| 06.20.2008 | 08:57:585454 |
June 20 '08: The First Response Team of America is a privately run organization to help communities respond and recover in the first days after a disaster. On its website, the organization said it helps local, state and federal first responders "by removing the initial obstacles that local emergency and government officials encounter when dealing with a natural or manmade disaster."
CNN interviewed the organization's founder Tad Skylar Agoglia: "The most critical phase of a disaster is the first few days. ... That's when you have to find the people that are in desperate need of medical attention, food, water." Agoglia began The First Response Team after working in disaster recovery after hurricane Katrina, CNN reported.

Agoglia told the cable news network that he saw local response and recovery operations hampered by a lack of resources, and an inability to access the areas affected. Currently, "The First Response Team consists of more than $1 million in specialized machinery able to adapt to the various challenges of disaster sites," CNN reported.

According to the First Response Team, the organization can "Open critical roadways blocked by debris and power lines; Help restart and mobilize critical service centers such as hospitals, ambulance companies, fire departments, state troopers barracks and nursing homes; Provide temporary power solutions using industrial generators; Connect first responders through satellite technology (phones, internet, GPS locators); Perform water rescues using specialized watercraft; [and] Supply commercial water pumps to empty out low-lying areas of cities."

"Our mission is to provide pre-positioned specialized heavy equipment and advanced technological communications systems for the purpose of being an immediate source of help and hope to communities and their leaders," the organization's website said.