“I think Ohio should be proud of what they have on this team. It’s a very experienced team in terms of hurricane response and I’m proud of them.”

TOLEDO, OH – First Ohio Task Force has been expanded to Type 1, meaning that more than 80 members are now deployed. Initially, only 47 people were sent to Florida.

Chief Jack Rell said they are located between Sarasota and Fort Myers and are conducting targeted searches in areas where people are reported missing. Then, in the next few days, he plans to go door-to-door checking to make sure no one needs to be evacuated from their homes.

He explained that they are all experienced in various aspects of search and rescue operations. Real said they were able to take about 50 tons of specialized emergency gear and canines with them because the injured people needed all the help they could get.

“They are in a different situation than us,” Real said. “A lot of them are scared, frustrated and all that. So sometimes it shows a little bit, but you just have to take it with a grain of salt and understand that we’re in better shape than they are and we’re trying to make their day better.”

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Real said that after 20 years of this work, he has never been more confident in the work of his members.

“I think Ohio should be proud of what this team has,” Real continued. “This is a very experienced team in terms of hurricane response and I’m proud of them. So, I think the state should be proud of what they have and what they’re doing here.”

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Rell said a typical deployment is 14 days, but they are expected to be there longer because they arrived in Florida before going ashore.

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