MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDTN) – Just three-and-a-half weeks since coming back from the Hurricane Florence devastated Carolinas, 16 members of Ohio Task Force 1 are now in the southeast ready for Hurricane Michael.
“Some of the guys that were at Florence are with us, some of the guys we have with us on this deployment weren’t out on Florence, so we’ve got some fresh folks out, so they’re rested and ready to go,” said task force leader, Doug Coupe.
The group initially planned to go to Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Fla., but because of the severity of storm, were redirected to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. to pre-stage.
Coupe said they are stationed with eight other teams from Texas all the way to New Jersey, preparing and doing refresher training on GPS and documentation devices before they get called out.
“Structural damage, infrastructure damage, but most importantly being able to document residents that have elected to shelter in place so we can report that up to the local authorities of whatever area we’re working, so they have a physical location of where and how many people stayed that they can check back on on a regular basis,” said Coupe.
Coupe said they have elements in recovery efforts in many storms, but the last time he remembers sending out Task Force 1 to multiple storms a year was 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit.
“To do multiple storms one year is not out of the question, but it doesn’t happen every year,” said Coupe. “It’s more of a four or five year kind of thing.”
Coupe said they are prepared to be deployed at least ten to fourteen days if not longer.