TAMPA, Fla. (WDTN) – Members of Ohio Task Force 1 are stationed in Tampa, Fla. ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall in the United States, but they may be forced to head elsewhere, depending on the storm’s path.
According to officials, roughly 85 members of Ohio Task Force 1 arrived in Tampa Saturday to begin preparing for Dorian’s landfall.
It’s up to FEMA to decide where members of Ohio Task Force 1 will be sent, according to Phil Sinewe, public information officer for Ohio Task Force 1.
It’s not clear when the team may be ordered to relocate, said Adam Landis, a rescue specialist who traveled to Florida with the group.
The emergency responders are making sure they are ready and their equipment is maintained, no matter where the team may go, he added.
“We have our planning team that prepares all kinds of routes and alternative routes for any possible scenarios for where we may be sent,” Landis said.
Landis, who also serves as a district chief for the Dayton Fire Department, said he has assisted with operations following several other hurricanes, including Harvey in 2017.
So far, the response he has seen from other agencies is comparable with many other disasters, he added, with teams coming in from as far as the West Coast.
“The resources can quickly get overwhelmed, so we’re able to provide assistance to those communities as they need it,” Landis said.
It’s not clear how long members of Ohio Task Force 1 may stay in the area as they help with anything needed, from rescue operations to hazmat cleanup and data collection, he said.
“We’re able to have a positive impact immediately on an environment, or on a community,” Landis said.
Other organizations from the Miami Valley are also heading south to help with the anticipated relief effort. According to officials with the American Red Cross, two local volunteers are expected to leave Monday morning.