As Florida’s Gulf Coast prepares for Hurricane Ian, Ohioans are gearing up to help.

BEDFORD, Ohio — As gas lines stretch across Florida streets and some grocery stores in the Sunshine State run out of essential supplies ahead of Hurricane Ian, Ohioans are loading up and heading south to help.

Brian Harting is a lieutenant with the Bedford Fire Department, but he currently works as a heavy equipment technician at Ohio Task Force 1one of the 28 task forces through Art National Urban Search and Rescue Response System and FEMA.

Forty-seven Ohioans and a team currently deployed to provide resources and support during Hurricane Jan are stationed in southeast Alabama, waiting to learn where they will be needed most. They got a call that they would be going south on Saturday.

“That’s what we train for,” Harting said, adding that the team practices constantly in Dayton. “[I’m] just glad to be able to help out and represent the state of Ohio and our communities back home and offer some assistance.”

Task force chief Jack Rell called the team the “Swiss Army Knife of the federal government.” Real said their team is equipped with several semi-trucks, vans, boats and other supplies to make sure they are ready to respond.

“We can do anything from building collapse rescues right now to confined space rescues to rapid water rescues, we’re pretty good at handling almost anything that can happen in a hazardous environment,” Rell said.

The American Red Cross is also looking for ways to help. Jim McIntyre, regional director of communications for TAmerican Red Cross of Northern Ohiosaid they are reaching out to their network of volunteers.

“We currently have one volunteer from Canton who has been sent to Florida and is available to work at the shelters,” McIntyre said. “We also need other volunteers and have put out a call to our volunteers to see who is willing to work for a few weeks over the next few days.”

In general, McIntyre said a disaster deployment is an 11-14 day commitment. Their volunteers are trained to help out at the shelter, distribute food, and provide disaster mental health counseling and disaster assessment.

In addition, McIntyre said they are always looking for people who would like to be trained to volunteer to help with future disasters, and said the American Red Cross relies on community donations.

Harting said he and the rest of the task force are ready and willing to help.

“We’re all coming together and we want to do this and we want to help wherever there’s a need and wherever there’s action,” he said. – We are ready to face this and help those who need it, who need it the most. .”

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