Private groups chip in to keep people safe during Hurricane Michael

U.S. & World

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida (WFLA) — Hurricane Michael is rolling into the Florida panhandle Wednesday morning as a dangerous Category Four storm.

It’s going to take a lot of help to get people living in the area through the approaching hurricane.

America’s Cajun Navy is lending a hand to do exactly that.

John Billiot founded the organization. He says they’ve already rescued one family from a mobile home in the Panama City Beach area.

Billot says his group has been doing search and rescue operations since Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

“We go out and we rescue people during the storm,” Billiot said. “Not only do we do Natural Disasters but we also have a Canine team.”

Billiot’s team features 30-40 people, as well as heavy equipment to go into areas hardest hit by the storm.

“It’s a 5 ton military truck,” Billiot said. “It is a high water rescue vehicle that we use it for.”

“We also have boats whenever we can’t get the truck in, the boats come in, grab whoever they have to grab and bring them back to the road.”

The group has already helped rescue families in Panama City.

“They decided they were going to stay,” Billiot said. “Well now that they see that it’s actually a category 4 Hurricane they were inside of a mobile home.”

“She got scared, talked to her mom and they decided that they were ready to go.”

Hurricane Michael is expected to bring winds near 150 miles per hour and potentially deadly storm surge up to 13 feet to the panhandle.

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