South Florida task forces, FPL crews head to Carolinas ahead of Florence

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSVN) — Task forces comprised of several South Florida fire rescue agencies and a team from Florida Power and Light are stepping up to help in the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence continues to inch closer to land.

7News cameras captured FPL technicians deploying out of Davie, Tuesday morning, ready to bring restoration with a team of more than 500 technicians.

“When these hurricanes and storms hit these towns, they come with full force, and they come with an attitude,” said FPL lineman Abel Hernandez.

Another FPL lineman said he knows all too well the damage a major hurricane can cause.

“We understand the devastation it causes in people’s lives and the disruption, so it’s something we’re all willing and ready to do at any time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Florida Task Force 1, a crew of 80 with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, also headed north on Tuesday.

The crew will assist in search and rescue efforts after the storm.

“Pretty much everybody that’s behind me responded to at least one of the three hurricanes that we had last year,” said MDFR Lt. Kirsten Miller, “so they are prepared.”

Late Monday night, search and rescue teams with Task Force 2 said goodbye to their families and headed to Columbia, South Carolina.

“We have boats in the water in case anybody needs rescuing that we can go out and rescue whatever individuals need assistance, that might be trapped in their houses, that can’t get out because of water or potentially trapped inside the water,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Scott Dean.

Their team of 16 first responders from departments all across South Florida has the primary task of search and rescue efforts on the water after the storm.

“High-water vehicles for us have been an amazing asset that we’ve utilized,” said Dean, “not only here going to South Carolina now, but we used it last year in Hurricane Harvey, as well as Hurricane Irma.”

Task Force 1 is joining the effort, bringing in K9 units and their special resources.

“Water rescue teams, swift water rescue teams, so they’re prepared,” said Miller. “We have boats with us.”

These South Florida crews are all ready to move in once Florence moves through and the all clear is given.

“We’re gonna stage just south of it, and as it hits, we’ll get orders as where to start deploying our resources to go in and help whatever citizens might need assistance,” said Dean.

It is around-the-clock work that can take its toll, but these teams know it’s worth it.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to save some lives because we’re there,” said Miller.

There are 28 urban search and rescue teams from across the country. Twenty-five of them will be stationed in Columbia, waiting to be deployed.

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