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Orlando-area firefighters traveling to Carolinas ahead of Hurricane Florence

Teams to assist with evacuations, preparations

Orange and Seminole County Fire & Rescue deployed teams to the Carolina coasts on Tuesday in an effort to help with any needs as Hurricane Florence approaches.

The state of Florida is sending resources to the area in advance of the storm to help with evacuations of hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities and other at-risk areas.

The Category 4 storm is expected to hit the Carolinas by the end of the week. So far, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for more than 1 million people on the southern East Coast, CNN reports.

[HURRICANE TRACKER: Tracks, computer models, more | READ: 3 ideas to halt hurricanes]

The strike teams will also bring medication and other supplies. Division Chief Mike Wajda said this is an effort to "pay it forward" after the help Florida received with Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

"This is what they live for, we asked for volunteers and we are flooded, this is exactly what firefighters train for," Wajda said.

The teams expect to spend eight days in the area, although it could be longer if needed. Flagler County Fire Rescue plans to send a rescue team and two strike team leaders to Raleigh, North Carolina also for an eight-day deployment with crews working in 12-hour shifts.

“We ask that Flagler County keeps both our local responders and the communities to our north in their thoughts,” Fire Chief Don Petito said. “No one wants to hear that any community may be facing a life-threatening storm, but we do feel confident that our team is well trained, well equipped, and prepared to make a difference in the deployment area.”

Officials from local attraction Wild Florida said they plan to send teams with boats to assist with possible flooding after the storm strikes the area. 

More than 1,100 Duke Energy Florida contractors, line workers and other professionals are departing Wednesday so they can be staged in the Carolinas and be ready to help restore power, according to a news release.