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Ohio Task Force 1 deploys for Hurricane Michael relief

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - A team from Ohio Task Force 1 had hardly unpacked from their previous deployment before re-packing for Hurricane Michael relief.

"(During) hurrican season, it's game-on the entire time," said Brian Harting, a team member and firefighter from Bedford, Ohio.

"You just make sure your gear is packed and ready to go and keep an eye on the news and weather," added Dayton district fire chief and fellow team member Adam Landis. "You know that you could get that call and have to go help some people."

Tuesday, OH-TF1 deployed a 16-person water rescue team to Eglin Air Force Base, southwest of Valparaiso, on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The base will serve as a staging area for a region expecting flooding and destruction from the incoming storm.

The team expects a similar mission to one they were assigned in the Carolinas from September 11-25 following Hurricane Florence.

"We try to get embedded with the locals and learn the community and try to learn where they've had problems before, if they perceive problems," Harting explained. "(We will) assist with evacuation, sheltering and getting people and animals out of their homes to safety."

Team members include water rescue managers, boat operators and specialists in water rescue, logistics, medical treatment and support. They're self-sustained and equipped to operate continuously for 24-hours.

Many of the members have been deploying to disasters for years and said they're a well-oiled machine.

"It's just like any other team organization," said Landis. "We are a team. We work as a team, train as a team... and all of that training comes into play when you go down for a real emergency."

The team likely won't know specific assignments until they reach their destination and Hurricane Michael hits, but members prepare for a variety of scenarios.

Harting said, "We're just looking to represent Ohio and our departments and help where we can."

The team departed from their Kettering warehouse around 8 am Tuesday. The length of the deployment is undetermined.

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