INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As people in Florida prepare for Hurricane Michael, members of Indiana’s Task Force One are on their way to the area to help. Some of the members deployed Tuesday morning recently returned from the Carolinas, where they assisted with Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.
Eight of the 16 members on their way down south have only been home for a few weeks after carrying out dozens of rescues in North Carolina.
“No matter how hard they’ve been beat down and worked, if another storm is coming, or another national emergency, they step up to the plate,” said Michael Pruitt, public information officer for Indiana Task Force One.
Program director Tom Neal just got back to Indiana Saturday from his most recent assignment.
“This year it was hurricane Olivia to Hawaii, came home for two days, re-activated and went out Monday for Florence and was gone almost three weeks,” Neal said.
This time, he’s staying back home but helping coordinate efforts. He said the team understands they must be ready at a moment’s notice during storm season.
“You know, in a matter of time, it might be another event that you get a ‘no notice event’ for and you’re deploying again,” he said.
Tuesday morning, the group gathered at the Indiana Task Force One headquarters to pack up. They are heading to Florida with six boats and a team that is specialized in water rescues.
To help the families left behind, the task force has a support group.
“We’ll have other team members go and assist them if they need their grass mowed, if they need childcare,” Neal said. “We’ll have other people help, step up and take care of them.”
Despite the sacrifices they make that force them to be away from home, the team members say they are committed to using their skills wherever they are needed.
“Whether it’s in our community or in another community, we are there to serve the people we are assisting,” Neal said.
The Task Force One will stage in the area of Montgomery, Alabama. They must be in place and ready for any assignment by Wednesday morning.