Ohio Task Force 1 activated as Hurricane Laura reaches Category 4

Local News

VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN) – As Hurricane Laura continues to travel towards the Texas area, 85 men and women from Ohio strapped on their boots ready to respond.

“Part of our mission is to help communities find everyone so we focus on finding injured and live people who need to be rescued,” said Program Manager Evan Schumman. “But then after three days, we take the HRD dogs to find the loved ones that passed away.”

Ohio Task Force 1 was activated and deployed Wednesday night as a Type 1 team and is heading to College Station, Texas, to a staging area. The team is driving through the night with three days of supplies with them but still are expecting some major challenges.

“A lot of it is just trying to get to where you need to be because power poles are down, water and debris in the roadway,” said Communications Specialist Marty Robertson. “It’s really difficult to just get to the location that you need to be.”

The majority of Task Force members work in career fields that provide real world training for missions like this.

“Emergency room doctors, firefighters, things of that nature, so they bring a lot of background and experience with them,” said Task Force Leader Adam Landis. “Going out on something like this is something they prepared for.”

Staff members said they’re expecting major water and wind damage from Hurricane Laura including houses moved off foundations, major debris fields and much more. However, the reason to respond is simple.

“This is the United States, so regardless of the culture now or problems going on, you still have the attitude of trying to help each other.” said Schumman.

As the team continued to pack, the number one thing on their minds were their families.

“Without notice, you just pick up and leave and life is still going on so they’d have to pick that up and would be impossible without your family’s support.” said Robertson.

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