Ohio Task Force 1 heading down to Texas to help with hurricane relief

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Dozens of search and rescue members from Ohio are on their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast to help save lives after Hurricane Laura comes ashore. 

The team, which includes several people from Northeast Ohio, are often called up to help during a disaster.

The 85 members of Ohio Task Force 1 packed up and answered the call Wednesday.  They left Dayton on their way to College Station, Texas.

“They’ll have a police escort all the way to Texas… basically go non-stop, except for fuel and bathroom breaks,” said Phil Sinewe, public information officer for Ohio Task Force One.

The unit, made up of first responders across Ohio, is trained in urban search and rescue.

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FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, activated the team to help search for and rescue survivors of a powerful Hurricane Laura after it comes ashore on the Gulf Coast.

“We’re taking a minimum of four boats, maybe six boats, all of our people are fast water rescue certified,” said Sinewe.

Members of Ohio Task Force 1 have conducted missions after several hurricanes ravaged various parts of the US in recent years. The team includes firefighters from Euclid and Bedford.

They are often called to rescue people from collapsed or flooded buildings.

“We take a medical team, so we have doctors and paramedics and nurses, and their job is to treat the people we run into…most of it is gonna be very routine for them, they’re ready to handle it, they’re ready to deal with it,” Sinewe said.

Although Hurricane Laura is expected to create massive destruction in Texas and Louisiana, the dedicated men and women in the Ohio Task Force hope they can help prevent people from losing their lives.

“For those people, it’s typically their worst moments, getting to jump in and help somebody out of their worst moment is an adrenaline high that you can’t imagine,” said the spokesman.

Ohio Task Force One was scheduled to leave at 9:00 p.m.   Members say they can, and probably will, be rerouted, depending on where their help is needed the most.

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