HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WSVN) — As residents in Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states feel the effects of Hurricane Ida, first responders who came from South Florida to assist in rescue efforts said they are ready to respond to the hardest hit areas in a moment’s notice.
Members of Florida Task Force 1 and Florida Task Force 2 began heading out to the area on Friday night.
Eighty members of Florida Task Force 2 are currently stationed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
“We’ll be here as long as they need us to be,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll.
Carroll said the teams’ likely next step will be to rescue residents who find themselves trapped by floodwaters.
“We have our teams that are ready, especially our swift water teams, because we’re seeing a lot of damage as a result of all of the rain and even with some storm surges,” said Carroll, “so we’re going to see a swift water rescue component by way of boats and high water vehicles. That’s going to be our first priority mission.”
Hattiesburg is located away from the strike zones but close enough to respond.
Carroll said staying behind the hurricane is the best way to support with the rescue operations.
“The quickest way to get to those that have been affected is to come in after the storm has passed,” he said, “so what we’re trying to do is stay out of the perimeter of the storm and, as it moves on to land, then it clears an area, we’re able to maneuver around, and we’re able to get in there and get boots on the ground as quickly as possible and get to those who are in need of help or assistance.”
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews are also offering support as part of Florida Task Force 1. They are also in Mississippi and ready to respond.
Chef José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen are on the ground ready to help feed tens of thousands of people.
The organization currently feeding those left devastated by the recent earthquake in Haiti sent a crew to Louisiana.
They set up three kitchens that are stocked to serve more than 100,000 meals.
“For us, to be at the service of helping people in the moment of need is probably the best call and the best thing we can do,” said Andrés.
In Doral, Global Empowerment Mission is spending Monday morning loading a truck full of supplies to deliver to those in Louisiana.
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