‘Our boats are prepped and ready to go’: First responders from across Ohio prepare for Florence rescues

CLEVELAND — First responders from around Ohio are in North Carolina getting ready to help with search and rescue operations following Hurricane Florence.

Several firefighters from northeast Ohio are a part of Ohio Task Force 1, a special team of firefighters and other first responders from around the state who specialize in difficult rescues in time of disaster.

They arrived Thursday morning with several boats and other gear, and are stationed at a fire station in Kinston, North Carolina; that’s about 30 miles from New Bern, which is right in the storm’s path.

Euclid Fire Captain Chris Caimi is part of the team and says their boats are ready to assist local authorities to search flooded areas after the storm.

“The search portion is the biggest part,” Captain Caimi told Fox 8 by phone. “We use GPS and we do mapping and by the time we’re done with it, we take our GPS and download the information — all that information shows on a big map, like a google map, and we went to every home in the area to make sure we searched that there’s nobody there and nobody needs any help.”

Captain Caimi, who did similar work after Hurricanes Matthew and Harvey, says they are one of several teams from around the country that have been sent to North Carolina to do rescue work, if needed.

He says they’ll be ready to go in as soon as the storm allows them to safely deploy.

“Right now we’re ready to respond. Our boats are prepped and ready to go and we had them all secured to travel, but now we’ve got the motors on and we’re ready to go,” Caimi said.

Continuing coverage, here.