SHREVEPORT, La. (WDTN) – Ohio Task Force 1 is on standby mode in Shreveport, Louisiana waiting for an assignment by local officials.
“It’s not our job to go find out what the local people need, they know their cities, they know their parishes, they’re going to go out and find out what needs to be done and if they need us, they will go through their command structure and we’ll go where needed,” rescue team manager Tim Lotz said.
Lotz is a Cincinnati firefighter and has been part of Task Force 1 for more than 20 years.
In order to be on the team there’s extensive training. Members have to be up to date on everything from structure collapse to rope rescue to swift water rescue.
“These are the things that don’t happen every day so we have to train more to be prepared when the time comes because we don’t get to do them in our day-to-day jobs,” Lotz said.
Lotz said the team has skills and equipment many local jurisdictions don’t have available.
So when called, they pack up their gear and do what they can to save lives.
“We’ve accomplished some very harrowing rescues,” Lotz said. “I’m very proud that the training paid off. Got into some pretty sketchy situations and they did the right thing and they legitimately saves lives and that’s what we’re here for.”
Lotz has responded to around a dozen hurricanes.
He said the biggest challenge of this job is leaving family to respond at a moment’s notice.