LOS ANGELES -- A 16-member swift water rescue team from the Los Angeles Fire Department has staged in Virginia in advance of Hurricane Florence.
The team left L.A. early Tuesday morning and drove five vehicles about 40 hours across the country.
"The key elements they have with them are inflatable watercraft as well as flat-bottom boats," says spokesman Brian Humphrey. "It's those flat-bottom boats that you'll be seeing in the days and weeks ahead, helping to shuttle residents from harm's way."
The L.A. Fire Department sent rescue teams to Texas and Florida to assist in rescue efforts after other recent hurricanes.
The team in Virginia will wait out this hurricane about 200 miles inland from Virginia Beach, officials say.
"They're going to allow the storm to advance onto land," Humphrey says. "Then they'll very quickly mobilize -- like a SWAT team -- right to where they are needed."
The team relies on local responders to sort out unfamiliar terrain and potential dangers.
"We're extra help," Humphrey says. "The experts are there on the ground."
The team from L.A. is prepared to stay on the East Coast for weeks.