Local first responders ready to help Floridians after Hurricane Ian
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -In 2018 the Panhandle called for help after Hurricane Michael, and the call was answered. In March of 2022 Floridians answered the call again during local wildfires. Now is the chance for the Panhandle to return the favor.
“The area that is getting hit right now they deployed a lot of personnel to us. So it is kind of like we owe them a debt basically where we are going to send them help.” Gabe Moschella, from Bay County Fire Rescue, said.
Bay County first responders said they are willing and ready to help out those that are going to be dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. That evidence is right outside the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, with a sign that reads “south Florida we are coming! Florida strong!”
Sheriff Tommy Ford is working with the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force in Tallahassee at the state Emergency Operations Center. This task force activates in response to requests for help from other offices across the state that have been hit by natural disasters like Hurricane Ian.
“The sheriff has a great debt of gratitude that he wants to pay back to all of the other sheriff’s offices that sent so much support, support people, supplies, everything up to us after Hurricane Michael. He wants to make sure that gets paid back in triplicate for all of the other counties in the state of Florida that are facing consequences of being hit by and affected by Hurricane Ian,” Ruth Corley, BCSO Public Information Officer said.
On top of that NewsChannel 7 is told Sheriff Ford developed a team a week ago that is ready to help.
“Sheriff Ford is very good about preparation and keeping us trained and so they are getting ready to go. They will probably be pulling out Friday or Saturday. We anticipate getting a request for our help and we are ready to go completely ready to go,” Corley said.
This team from BCSO is self-sustaining, meaning they are bringing tents, food, and whatever items they may need for their stay down in South Florida.
Panama City Beach Fire Rescue has two members at the state EOC and a crew ready.
“We also dispatched an engine today under state orders along with four other engines. One from Panama City, one from Lynn Haven, one from Navarre Beach, and one from Fort Walton Beach to create strike team 1101,” PCB Fire Chief Ray Morgan said.
Chief Morgan said his crew is meeting up with another strike team in Lake City and will await orders.
Also, Bay County Fire Rescue has its 10-person Hazmat team standing by.
“They specialize in hazardous material. We are one of two federally funded teams in the panhandle so our resources are going to be a huge asset to them,” Moschella said.
Our first responders will be giving the local first responders a break so that they can see their families and deal with the damage to their own homes.
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