ORLANDO, Fla. – Search and rescue teams loaded up gear and rolled out of Orlando early Monday to deploy to Louisiana after the landfall of Hurricane Ida.
Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 4 will meet with officials in Baton Rouge who will determine where the group can best be utilized during rescue and recovery efforts.
USAR Task Force 4 is made up of 44 firefighters from agencies in Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola and Brevard Counties.
“We have tents, food, shelter, we’re good,” Rescue Squad Office Matt Jaynes said. “You just tell us where you need help and we’ll go in there and do whatever mission is needed.”
The group specializes in structural collapse, swift water rescue, wide-area search and hazardous materials.
“We expect high water response, swift water (and) flood water,” Safety Chief Spencer Bashinski said. “Structural damage with winds at 150 miles an hour, that’s destruction all the way around.”
The team includes paramedics, structural engineers, doctors, search and rescue dogs, and other highly-trained specialists.
Members from USAR Task Force 4 were also deployed in June to serve in rescue efforts in the condominium building collapse in South Florida.
Since its founding in 2004, the task force has been deployed to more than 10 natural and man-made disasters within Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
“I think it’s our greatest honor to be able to help people in their time of need,” Bashinski said. “That’s why every member on this team joined. We’re fortunate that we get that opportunity to help people in their worst of times.”
Officials said a search and rescue deployment typically lasts 14 days.