After returning from Texas where they helped with the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, members of New Jersey Task Force 1 are heading to Florida because of Hurricane Irma.
Laura Connolly with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management says the specially trained search and rescue crews will assist where needed in Florida.
“This time is a little bit different than our Harvey deployment because they have the whole team with them. So they could definitely be doing more operations down there. They could be doing everything from wide area searches to water rescue, swift water rescue. They have the K9 handlers with them.”
While many Florida residents have fled from areas that might be in Irma’s path, Connolly says the 80 task force members are prepared for what they might encounter there.
“It’s really amazing, their dedication. They were just ready to get all their gear together and run out the door. Their attitude is so positive, especially when you know you’re going into a negative situation, but this is what they train for.”
Connolly says the task force could be in Florida for up to two weeks.
“This team is very much self-sustained. They have their own food sources, shower sources. They basically can build a tent city and self-sustain themselves. They don’t need anything except for a place to set up camp.”