Some of the first respondents heading to Texas following Hurricane Harvey come from the Cleveland scene. The Ohio Task Force One left Ohio on Friday morning to aid relief following the terrible hurricane.
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Ohio Task Force One specializes in ‘urban disasters’ and include firefighters from Euclid, Green, New Franklin and Ravenna.
“We’re working on water rescue missions throughout the day and many other recovery efforts as well,” said squad member and Bedford Fire Lieutenant Brian Harting.
First Responders come from all parts of the country and have a background of life-saving skills specifically for urban settings.
“You could be riding in a boat in swift water conditions, get to a structure, have to perform a structural size up: is the building safe to enter, do we need shoring? Then a forcible entry to get into the house, marking the house, areas that have been searched and ultimately removal of victims,” Harting added.
“Water is very dangerous in the rescues because there’s so many unknowns and so many hidden hazards that lurk below the water: electricity, trees, poles, mailboxes, hydrants, cars, you know, you name it.”
During their mission, the Ohio Task Force One could be working in Texas for over two weeks.
“These guys are highly trained, dedicated, motivated, this is what they train years and thousands of hours to do, so I know they’re in good spirits and doing a lot of good for the residents of the state of Texas.” Harting said.
The Ohio Task Force One is not alone, the Cleveland chapter of the American Red Cross has also sent down 15 people to Texas. Sadly, conditions are so bad that the closest these groups are at include Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Austin, Texas.